Qatar is a very small, but very wealthy country situated on a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian (aka Arabian) Gulf. The country has an abundance of natural gas reserves, mostly offshore. The primary export is liquefied natural gas (LNG) that is processed onshore and then loaded onto huge specialized ships for transport to faraway places such as Korea, Japan, Europe, and the USA. The land itself is mostly a barren desert. The city of Doha sits about half way up the peninsula and it is a thriving, vibrant hot spot of regional culture and various western-style attractions.
The country vies with its much larger neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for region influence and the eye of the world. Qatar landed the 2020 World Cup, and upon visiting, it’s apparent the city-state is fully focused on showing the rest of the world just how modern, comfortable, and fun this small country can be. Owing to the immense wealth that derives from the LNG exports, there’s no shortage of investment capital, on the part of the government and local businesses. A huge new airport is under construction, and there’s a multitude of residential and commercial projects recently completed and still underway.
During my two visits to Qatar, first in 2011 and then again in 2013, when not immersed in GE work, I was able to experience a very small portion of the local culture and attractions.
Although you may not think of Qatar as your first choice for vacation destination, my experiences in this vibrant city-state would suggest otherwise. There’s shopping galore, restaurants that would contend with the world’s best, museums, arts, etc etc. For sure the weather in May, June, July, and August is a bit too oppressive for outdoor activity during the day time, but the nights are pleasant and the cooler months offer all day outdoor activities. Without doubt, in the coming years, the world will further recognize this wealthy friendly state amongst the not-to-miss vacation destinations.