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About Qatar University

Qatar University, the host of the IREG Forum 2017 is recognized for distinctive excellence in education and research. It is an institution of choice for students and scholars, and a catalyst for the sustainable socio-economic development of Qatar and other countries of the Arab Region. The campus of Qatar University is situated on the northern edge of Doha, approximately 16 kilometers from the city center. A brochure presenting the university can be downloaded at http://www.qu.edu.qa/global/documents/Qu_Brochure_English.pdf

Fast Facts

Doha is the capital city of the State of Qatar. The Global Peace Index ranks Qatar as one of 20 most peaceful countries in the world. Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education. Qatar hosts the MotoGP every year, the motorcycling Grand Prix of Doha, at the Losail International Circuit located to the north of Qatar. Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, for which it will build 12 eco-friendly iconic stadiums – some with the seating capacity for 80,000 people.

Location

Located on the northeast of the Arabian Peninsula—Saudi Arabia to the south and Oman to the east—and bordered by the Gulf to the northwest, Qatar is an 11,500 km2 peninsula with 563 kilometers of uninterrupted coastline. Doha city lies close to the Tropic of Cancer at latitude 25.29°N and longitude 51.53°E

Capital City

Doha is the capital city, the seat of government and the location of the main commercial and financial institutions. Situated halfway along the east coast of the peninsula, the city is an important cultural and commercial center with a vast commercial seaport and a modern international airport that link the country to the rest of the world. More than half of the population lives in Doha.

Climate

Qatar has a population of 2,045,239 million (as of 2013). Doha accounts for more than 60% of the total. In addition to Qatari nationals, the population includes the many expatriate residents that live and work in the country.

Language

Arabic is the official and main language, but English is widely spoken in every part of the country. Despite the fact that most Qatari people speak fluently English, they feel honored to see their guests speaking a few words in Arabic:

Hello (welcome) marhaba
Hello (peace be upon you) assalamo alaykum
Good morning sabah al khair
Good afternoon/evening misaa al khair
Goodbye ma’salaama
How are you? kaif halaak (m) / kaif haalik (f)
Please min fadlak
Thank you shukran
Not at all afwan
Yes na’am
No la
I want a taxi ureed taxi
Right yameen
Left yasar
Straight ahead alatool
Let’s go yalla
Finished khallas
No problem ma fi mushkila
This/that hatha / hathaak
I want to buy…/I’d like areed ashtiri…/ana areed
The bill please fatoura, laow samaht
Yesterday/today/tomorrow ams/alayum/bukra
God willing insha’Allah

Religion

Qatar is an Islamic country and Islam plays an integral role in the life of its citizens. Prayers take place five times per day—at dawn, around midday, in mid-afternoon, at sunset and about two hours after sunset. The exact timing varies each day according to the sun's position. Visitors can expect to hear the call to prayer of the ‘muezzin’, which is broadcast by loudspeaker from the minarets of the mosques—one of the most evocative sounds of Qatari life. Other religions are respected and Doha’s cosmopolitan population supports many places of worship from Hindu temples to Christian churches.

Time

Qatar local time is GMT/UCT + 3 hours. There are no daylight-saving adjustments.

Travel Essentials

Qatar is one of the safest places in the world. Both visitors and residents have the opportunity to experience the welcoming and friendly nature of Arab culture. Like anywhere else, respecting local traditions and practices allows you to enjoy the true essence of the host country, giving you a better travel experience.

Currency and Credit Cards

The national currency is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). The exchange rate is fixed at US$1 = QAR3.64. Bank notes are available in denominations of QAR500, QAR100, QAR10, QAR50, QAR5 and QAR1. Coins are found in denominations of 25, 50, 10, 5 and 1 dirhams, although only 25 and 50dirham coins are widely circulated. 

There are no foreign exchange restrictions and the currency is freely convertible. Doha has an extensive network of local and international banks. ATMs can be found in shopping malls, hotels, the airport and other locations around the urban areas. Cards accepted include American Express, Cirrus, Global Access, MasterCard, Plus System and Visa, with select outlets accepting Diners Club. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards. Cash may be preferred in smaller shops—and may help secure better bargains. There are many specialist foreign currency exchange outlets all over Doha.

Banking Hours

Banks are open every morning, except for Fridays, and credit cards and traveller's checks are widely accepted.

Electricity

Voltage is 240 AC at 50 cycles. Socket type is square three-pin 13 amp (as used in the UK)

Health

Visitors to Qatar do not require any specific vaccinations or health certificate. The quality of healthcare is generally very high and visitors should have no problem obtaining appropriate treatment and advice either in a private clinic or, in case of an emergency, in a government hospital. Common medications and health products are available in local pharmacies, often without a prescription. Travel health insurance is advisable. For any medical emergencies in Qatar, you can call 999.

Dress Code

The attitude toward dress in Qatar is quite relaxed, but visitors (men as well as women) should show respect for local culture and customs in public places by avoiding excessively revealing clothing.

  • Lightweight summer clothing is suitable most of the year, but some warmer garments may be needed for the winter evenings.
  • Sweaters or cardigans may also be needed when sitting indoors for a long period of time, as the air conditioning in some restaurants, cinemas etc. can turn the place a little cold.
  • Context is important. Bikinis and beachwear are acceptable by the hotel pool but not in public places in the city.
  • Business visitors should dress as they would do in their home countries.

Women Visitors

  • Female visitors, whether travelling alone or in a group, experience no special restrictions of dress in day-to-day life in Qatar. Covered shoulders and knees are a form of respect at all times.
  • Women play a full and active part in the life of the country and foreign women visitors can be assured they will be readily accepted and welcomed.

Leisure Activities

Visitors to Qatar can enjoy all the activities of a top-class international resort destination, plus a range of experiences more specific to the Middle East.

Desert adventures: Daytime and evening 4x4 safaris off-road into the desert are a very popular and exhilarating tourist experience. Trips can be arranged through hotels and local tour operators and may include sand skiing/boarding, camel riding, dune driving and a moonlit Bedouin barbeque.

Sightseeing tours: Local tour operators offer a range of options from Doha city tours covering all the major sights of the capital to tailor-made special interest excursions throughout the country.

Golf: Doha Golf Club (host of the Qatar Masters European PGA tournament in January) is open to visitors.

Dhow cruises: Day and evening sightseeing excursions, including a meal, can be arranged through hotels and local tour operators or directly from the dhows moored along the Doha Corniche.

Water sports and fishing: Year-round sunshine and the warm, clear waters of the Gulf make Qatar a perfect destination for water sport enthusiasts. Fishing trips can be arranged and sailing, water skiing, canoeing, jet skiing and windsurfing are all available through beach clubs, resorts and hotels.

Diving: The waters around the UAE are rich in a variety of marine life. Dive sites are easily accessible and include wreck, deepwater and reef dives. There are several specialist dive companies, who also provide training from beginner to instructor level.

Shopping: Doha boasts an outstanding array of top-class malls offering competitive prices on a wide range of international branded products. For a true Middle Eastern retail experience, Souq Waqif is ideal for souvenirs and regional specialties.

Family Fun: Qatar is a family-friendly destination, with excellent facilities for children in the hotels, public parks and elsewhere.

Tax and Tipping

Many restaurants include a service charge with the bill but, as this may not go to the person providing the service, an extra 10% will be appreciated. Tipping in hotels follows the same pattern as the rest of the world. A tip of about QAR10-20 ($2-$3) for porters and doormen is appropriate, and the same per day for housekeepers too. Around QAR20 per day is suitable for tour guides and drivers and QAR5-10 per journey for taxi drivers. There are no taxes levied on personal or corporate income, and there is no withholding tax or VAT in Qatar.

Getting Around

Public transportation is available all over Doha in the form of taxicabs and buses by the Mowasalat transportation company. Other private services such as the Doha Bus, a hop-on-hop-off bus, takes people sightseeing around some of the interesting tourist landmarks in Qatar. West Bay is Qatar’s commercial district and a significant portion of Qatar’s traffic goes around and through this area. The West Bay Bus service aims to reduce the traffic in this area by carrying people around different parts of West Bay. Doha also has a public metro system in the pipeline, whose first phase is expected to be completed by 2019, with the whole network operational by 2026.

It’s relatively easy to get around in Qatar. Mowasalat, the transport company in Qatar, offers a variety of land transport services and solutions in and around Qatar: Airport Taxi, Standard Taxi, VIP Limousine, Standard Limousine, Public Bus Service and Private Hire Car, Bus and Coach Services.

Airport Taxi

To book an Airport Taxi, you can contact Mowasalat’s phone booking service on 4588 888. This service offers station wagons that can seat up to six people. Airport Taxis operate only to and from Doha International Airport and are based at the Doha International Airport taxi stand. They are available round the clock, every day, including public holidays.

Standard Taxi

Mowasalat’s standard taxis are also known as ‘karwa’ taxis. All karwa taxis are new cars with air conditioning, and are fitted with the latest communication and navigation systems to give customers the best service possible. All Mowasalat taxis are also fitted with monitoring and tracking systems and are always connected to the call center. 

Standard taxis can only take up to four people by law and are reasonably priced; their meters start at QAR4 and run at QAR1.20 per kilometer. They can be hailed on the street, as well as at taxi ranks at commercial and shopping centers, clubs and hotels. Standard taxis can also be booked through the Mowasalat Call Centre at +974 458 8888.

VIP Limousine

Mowasalat has a VIP Limousine fleet that comprises of luxury sedans. Their services are best suited to business people or those who want a luxurious experience. The service is expensive, but by far the most comfortable option, and can be hired for varying lengths of time based on your needs. The VIP Limousine service vehicles are available at the airport as well as five-star hotels around Qatar, but they can also be booked by faxing the details of your requirements to Mowasalat’s Taxi & Limo Department at +974 458 8692.

Airport Taxi

To book an Airport Taxi, you can contact Mowasalat’s phone booking service on 4588 888. This service offers station wagons that can seat up to six people. Airport Taxis operate only to and from Doha International Airport and are based at the Doha International Airport taxi stand. They are available round the clock, every day, including public holidays.

Standard Limousine

The Standard Limousine service is geared towards practicality and comfort. It offers customized transport services to customers. The Standard Limousine service offers medium-sized vehicles without branding or logos. These cars can be hired via a call center at +974 458 8888, for a single journey, multiple journeys, and even short- or long-term leases.

Bus

There is a good bus service throughout most of Doha and across the country. Buses are modern, clean and air-conditioned. Fares within the city are around QAR3 to QAR9 depending on the distance, and fares outside town are reasonably priced. Daily, weekly and monthly passes are available from the bus operator, Mowasalat, at the bus station. Otherwise, pay the driver upon boarding (but make sure you have the correct change).

Car Rental

If you prefer to be independent and hire a car, there are a number of car rental agencies operating in Qatar, several with branches at the airport. Hirers will require a credit card, passport copy and a valid driving license from the passenger’s home country. Longer-term leases are possible and an international driving license may be requested depending on country of origin.

Coach

If you have a few spare hours, an organized city tour by air-conditioned coach, with commentary by English-speaking guides and translation versions available through headphone services, is a great way to see all the main sights. Visit www.city-discovery.com or www.dohabus.com which offers a “hop-on / hop-off” 24-hour pass for visitors.

Walking

If you have been in Doha during the summer months, you must know that walking to your destination is not advised. The cooler months (usually from November to April) are more conducive to walking.

Customs Allowances

  • 400 cigarettes
  • Personal items and gifts up to a maximum value of QAR3,000
  • Prohibited imports: alcohol, pork, Israeli currency, narcotics, pornography
  • Visitors are not charged customs duty on personal effects they bring into Qatar

Important Contact Numbers

Emergency (Police or Ambulance) 999
Worldwide Emergency Number 112
Qatar Tourism Hotline 4444 4106
Ooredoo Telephone Assistance 111
Local Directory 180
International Calls Enquires 150
Time 141, 140
Doha International Airport 4465 6666
Medical Commission 4467 9111
Mowasalat Taxi 4458 8888
Qatar Airways 4449 6000
Weather Forecast 4465 6590

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