DOHA: In celebration of National Sports Day, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is launching the Desert Caravan Challenge, an initiative to revive its age-old tradition of camel riding.
“One of the key pillars of Qatar’s tourism strategy is to deliver unique and authentic experiences,” said Rashed Al Qurese (pictured), Director of Marketing and Promotions at QTA. “This occasion allows us to deliver just that, while simultaneously promoting our traditional sport of camel-riding and showcasing Qatar’s beautiful landscapes.”
Open to Qatari citizens and residents over the age of 18, one caravan each will set out on February 7 and 8 for a 15km endurance ride in the northwest of Qatar. The ride will begin at the famous Al Zubarah Fort, winding its way through the scenic desertscape for three to four hours before ending again at the same location.
Each caravan will have 18 participants who will be accompanied by camel riders. The participants will also get to experience gracious Qatari hospitality at the camps.
The event will not be a competition, but a way to shed light on one of Qatar’s oldest sports, Qurese clarified.
In the perfect merger of culture, sport and tourism, the pioneering event will provide participants with an authentic experience and at the same time showcase Qatar’s rich heritage and cultural sports.
The Desert Caravan Challenge builds a strong tourism offering into the occasion of National Sports Day and beyond.
“QTA’s objective is to demonstrate the use of existing Qatari assets to build new touristic assets and experiences,” said Al Qurese. “Once the viability of the experience is established, we hope to build the Desert Caravan Challenge into a popular tourism highlight in the months and years to come.”
The final product might in fact offer longer multi-day journeys around the desertscape of Qatar to offer a truly authentic Qatari experience that will appeal to international tourists. It is also seen as an opportunity for tour operators to diversify their product offerings in the future.
Meanwhile, it is the perfect opportunity for the people of Qatar to celebrate the spirit of National Sports Day.
QTA is arranging the event at no cost to participants, but the ride will be a gruelling test of endurances only adults in good physical condition should consider registering for the challenge. The ride is open to male and female participants, including those who have little or no camel-riding experience.
Aspiring adventurers can register to participate by visiting the QTA website www.qatartourism.gov.qa from today until February 2. Spaces are limited and the 36 participants to join the caravan will be determined through a draw.