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.
Local time is GMT/UCT + 3 hours. There are no daylight savings adjustments.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- Tobacco allowance: 400 cigarettes.
- Personal items and gifts up to a maximum value of QAR 3,000.
- Imports of alcohol and narcotics are prohibited
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.
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.
The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken and understood. A wide range of other languages are spoken within the hospitality industry.
The country code for Qatar is +974. Telecom providers Ooredoo and Vodafone offer pre-paid and post-paid mobile services.
Wi-fi broadband hotspots are available across the country and are easily accessible at hotels and public parks.
220/240 volts AC 50Hz. Socket type is square three-pin 13 amp (as used in the UK).
Tap water is generally safe to drink in Doha and other urban areas.
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.
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.
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..