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A number of modern venues have sprung up in the country, including the Katara Cultural Village, Waqif Art Center and the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), among others, but these high-profile venues are literally out of reach of expatriate communities, including even the bigger ones that are financially resourceful.
This has led to increased involvement of expatriate communities in the cultural shows that are occasionally hosted by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), which community leaders actually hail. But the fact that smaller community organisations are unable to host their own cultural and social events as a means of bolstering intra-community solidarity and interaction due to rising costs and safety-related restrictions is a matter of concern for them.
Cultural shows that were held by the various expatriate groups during major festivals like Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha earlier have become rare, as was the case this Eid Al Adha, and a new trend is emerging whereby expatriate groups are forced to hold smaller, private gatherings.
However, when this newspaper raised the issue with the public representative body, the Central Municipal Council (CMC), for possible solutions to the woes faced by the expatriate communities, its chief said an easier and affordable way was to rely on tents that can be erected in open grounds.
“It is a cheaper option. Many Qatari families have been using tents for marriages where hundreds of people gather, celebrate and feast,” said Saud Al Hanzab, the chairman of the CMC. People in the Qatari community have for long been facing difficulties in hosting events like marriage and for them, tents provide an easy solution, he added.
All one needs to do is seek permission from the authorities concerned after identifying an open ground and order a tent company to do the needful, Al Hanzab said. For mega events sports clubs are most appropriate, he suggested. “These clubs demand cheaper rents and also offer discounted rates.”
According to the CMC chief, expatriate communities and their woes cannot be ignored as their presence is important for the country. “They are dear and important to us and we wouldn’t let go any opportunity to lend our support to them and their organizations,” Al Hanzab said.
He, however, added that the embassies of countries the expatriates come from and their community schools must also rise to the occasion and provide them active support. “A school can be easily used as the venue for a community event,” said Al Hanzab.