Record-breaking touchdown

Aiming to become the oldest plane to circumnavigate the globe, the Breitling DC-3 aeroplane landed in Qatar last month as part of its record-breaking world tour.

The Breitling DC-3 world tour took to the skies on March 9, 2017, 77 years after embarking upon its maiden flight. Departing from Breitling’s home country of Switzerland, the plane will visit 54 countries over seven months, landing back in Switzerland at the Breitling Sion Airshow 2017 in September. Qatar is its sixth stop, following on from visits to Jordan and Bahrain. The visit of the Breitling DC-3 harks back to the early days of international aviation travel – its maiden flight took place just a few weeks after oil was first discovered in Qatar.

Speaking after arriving in Qatar, Breitling DC-3 pilot Francisco Agullo, said, “Crossing the Middle East, with its vast open desert, is something I’ve really been looking forward to since we started planning this project. And flying over Qatar at just 2,000 feet, far lower than commercial aircraft are normally allowed, has been a truly unique experience and a personal highlight of this world tour. To celebrate the world tour, Breitling is also introducing a 500-piece limited edition of its famous Navitimer aviation chronograph, of which 25 models will be made available for the Middle East market. This steel Navitimer 01 (46mm), powered by Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01, will be distinguished by its caseback, which will be engraved with the Breitling DC-3 World Tour logo. Enthusiasts will have to wait till the end of the year to get their hands on this model.

Healthcare progress

Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) recently launched Qatar’s first dedicated women’s perinatal mental healthcare clinic.

The clinic is under the leadership of Dr Felice Watt, Perinatal Psychiatrist and Division Chief for Women’s Mental Health at Sidra. The team includes psychologist Dr Sawssan Ahmed, and Safia Ahmed, clinical nurse specialist. Services include initial evaluations, medication management and psychological therapies. Women can be treated for a wide range of pregnancy related mental health difficulties including anxiety, depression, and transition to motherhood. The team of Sidra professionals will provide guidance and counseling for mothers facing difficulties with attachment and bonding and issues related to previous trauma and loss. The clinic will also seek to provide support for those with more serious disorders such as postpartum psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Dr Muhammed Waqar Azeem, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Sidra, said, “The opening of our perinatal mental healthcare clinic is another major Sidra milestone. The services are a critical extension of the specialist and maternity care that we currently provide during a woman’s motherhood journey – from fetal maternal to obstetrics care. It is based on Sidra’s ethos of providing patient and family centered care that will promote recovery and wellness for our female patients.”

Entertainment galore

Elan Media launches Novo Cinemas’ latest innovative advertising campaign to announce the first MX4D cinema in Qatar and the largest IMAX laser screen in the region.

Featuring on 60 of Elan Media’s premium street furniture assets in both Doha and Al Rayyan, the four different MUPI executions have brought static visuals to life. The special 3D effect die-cuts reflect the new dynamic cinema experiences of MX4D and IMAX in an original and engaging way that resonates with Novo Cinemas’ target audience. Additionally, seven bus shelters located in Doha and AlRayyan have been fully wrapped to look like real cinema popcorn boxes.  This innovative and out-of-the-box execution maximizes brand exposure and captures the audience’s imagination. Jamie Ball, ELAN Media’s Chief Operating Officer said, “In a world where audiences are exposed to a multitude of advertising formats, creativity plays an increasingly critical role in the success of any campaign. Elan Media is continuously looking to develop the most creative and innovative ideas and bring them to life on the streets of Qatar.  We aim to work closely with our clients to plan and execute concepts that elevate advertising to deliver engaging and successful campaigns.”

Recreation and sports

Katara Hospitality recently announced its partnership with Spanish football league La Liga to launch the world’s first La Liga lounge at Hotel Park.

The press conference was attended by Hamad Abdullah Al Mulla, CEO of Katara Hospitality, Fernando Sanz, General Director, Middle East and North Africa of La Liga, Adolfo Bara, General Manager, Marketing & Sales of La Liga, among other VIP guests. The new sports lounge, expected to open mid-2017, will feature various facilities and amenities including big-screen televisions that will broadcast live coverage of matches, an official league shop, and the first themed restaurant for sports fans in Doha.  The press conference was followed by a La Liga clinic where 18 Qatari players from Aspire Academy, aged between 10 and 11 years, exhibited their football skills. Adolfo Bara, General Manager, Marketing and Sales, La Liga, said, “La Liga wants to bring the competition closer to our international fans, creating meeting spaces where they can enjoy La Liga both during and outside of games and where fans of all ages can share their enjoyment of the game. Katara Hospitality is the ideal partner given its high-quality standards, social commitment and its position as one of the leading companies in the hotel sector not only in the Middle East but across the world.”

Tourism First

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) recently hosted 200 Italian travel agents for three days, marking the first ever mega ‘fam’ (familiarisation) trip to Qatar in a new drive to generate visitor growth from Italy.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, commented, “This mega fam trip is testament to the shared belief we have in the uniqueness of Qatar’s tourism and its relevance to the Italian market.” He added, “Italy’s travel agents can offer their clients new and authentic experiences through visits to Qatar, and we are pleased to provide them with the support they need along the way.” Since 2011, visitor arrivals from Italy have increased by 47%. To build on that growth, QTA started operating a representative office in Milan 18 months ago. By the end of 2016, Qatar had recorded more than 33,000 Italian visitor arrivals. Paolo Guariento, Viaggidea Brand Manager, commented, “Qatar is without any doubt a destination with great potential. We are really grateful to Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar Airways for supporting us in the implementation of the largest ever fam trip hosted by Qatar, which included the number one network of travel agencies, the Welcome Travel Group. Qatar proved its great tradition of hospitality and thorough attention to detail, and we couldn’t have asked for more. Alpitour travel agents will give their maximum support for the development of this fascinating destination.”

Celebrating Excellence

W Doha Hotel & Residences celebrated its eighth birthday on March 5, 2017.

Speaking about the milestone reached by the hotel, Safak Guvenc, General Manager of W Doha said, “We wouldn’t have achieved that through outstanding service alone. We are also proud to have high employee satisfaction, with diverse talents coming from 62 countries. We are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that allow us to lead the way, particularly in technology, and of course, we are grateful to have a management that is open and agile to responding to the changing market needs. All of these elements including the trust and credibility we’ve built across our guests, partners, industry peers, award-giving bodies and authorities continue to strengthen us, reward us and push us further to do more to keep the cycle of excellence strong.”

“It (W Hotel) has been a consistent frontrunner at the Time Out Doha Awards, World Travel Awards, Conde Nast Traveler Awards, BBC Good Food Awards, and ME and MENA Travel Awards. It is also the first and only hotel in Qatar to be conferred a Green Key Award and has been felicitated at the Fact Magazine Awards, Caterer Middle East Awards, and World Luxury Spa Awards.