About Qatar

Qatar has been an independent sovereign state since 1971. It is one of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the others being Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. Qatar comprises an 11,500 sq. km peninsula extending northwards into the Arabian Gulf. It has 563 km of uninterrupted coastline. The country’s population stands at 2.3 million and its capital city is Doha.

 

Time

Local time is GMT/UCT + 3 hours. There are no daylight savings adjustments.

 

Climate

Qatar has a desert climate with year-round sunshine, hot summers and mild winters. Mean monthly temperatures range from 17°C in January to 36°C in July, sometimes reaching highs of 40°C+ during the summer. Rain is infrequent, falling in brief showers mainly in winter.

 

Business hours

The workweek is from Sunday to Thursday, with most offices closed on Friday and Saturday. Government offices working hours are from 07:00 to 14:00.

 

Public holidays

  • National Sports Day Second Tuesday in February.
  • ‘Eid Al Fitr End of the Holy month of Ramadan
  • ‘Eid Al Adha 9th of the last month in the Lunar Calendar
  • Qatar National DayDecember 18.

 

Money

The monetary unit of Qatar is the Qatari riyal (QR or QAR). The exchange rate is fixed at US $1 = QR3.64. ATMs are available all around the city, and most shops and restaurants accept major credit cards.

 

Customs regulations

  • Tobacco allowance: 400 cigarettes.
  • Personal items and gifts up to a maximum value of QAR 3,000.
  • Imports of alcohol and narcotics are prohibited

 

Religion

Qatar is an Islamic country but other religions are respected, with places of worship to accommodate Qatar’s cosmopolitan population. The timing of Islamic festivals and holidays follow the lunar calendar, moving forward by eleven days per year.

 

Dress code

The attitude to dress in Qatar is quite relaxed, but visitors (men as well as women) should observe local culture and customs in public places by avoiding excessively revealing clothing. Context is important. Bikinis and beachwear are allowed by swimming pool inside hotels, but not in public beaches.

 

Language

The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken and understood. A wide range of other languages are spoken within the hospitality industry.

 

Telecommunications

The country code for Qatar is +974. Telecom providers Ooredoo and Vodafone offer pre-paid and post-paid mobile services.

 

Internet

Wi-fi broadband hotspots are available across the country and are easily accessible at hotels and public parks.

 

Electricity

220/240 volts AC 50Hz. Socket type is square three-pin 13 amp (as used in the UK).

 

Water

Tap water is generally safe to drink in Doha and other urban areas.

 

Medical Care

There are no major health risks and no particular vaccination required by visitors. The quality of healthcare is generally very high. There are many well-stocked pharmacies, with English speaking staff, throughout Doha city, including some open 24 hours.

 

Safety

Qatar has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It is a safe destination with religious and political stability. While normal precautions should be observed, visitors need have little concern going around.

 

Disabled visitors

Leading hotels, airports, shopping malls, larger banks and other new or recently-restored public buildings offer wheelchair access, special toilets and parking areas for persons with special needs. It is however advisable to check out the facilities online before making travel plans..

 

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