Shop Qatar’s Souq Waqif tours continue to attract many residents and visitors who want to have a deeper understanding of Doha’s traditional market, Embrace Doha CEO Amal al-Shammari has said.
“The number of participants in every group is increasing,” she noted, citing the initiative’s lucid and yet simple method of educating people about Qatari culture and traditions.
The Saturday shopping tours, which began on December 22 and to conclude on January 5, give individuals the opportunity to “shop the Qatari way” at Qatar’s historic and most popular tourist destinations.
Shop Qatar renewed its partnership with Embrace Doha, a cultural consultancy company, to lead shopping tours at Souq Waqif. The company offers a diverse range of sessions and events aimed at enriching the cultural experiences of expatriates and visitors.
Participants come from different expatriate communities
The two-hour tour starts from 4pm, and makes some stops along the way to sample and brief participants about fabric, spices, perfumes, traditional food, art and other items offered by outlets. Tour prices are QR200 per person (100 for children above 10).
“If they want to order abaya or thobe or all of these traditional items such as perfumes or oils, we try to stop there and show people how we do (haggle) it as Qataris,” al-Shammari said. “We explain all these elements so it is more an entertaining and educational tour.”
Qatari tour guides lead the two-hour tour
Al-Shammari finds such initiative mutually beneficial for the organiser and participants saying that it helps satisfy one’s curiosity and enthusiasm to rediscover new things.
“The people ask many questions, small things that an expatriate is interested in, and they also discover a number of similarities between our culture and theirs, and it makes me feel good about it because we share the same interests,” she added.
Launched in the second edition of Shop Qatar, the shopping tours take festival-goers to what was described as “an authentic and culture-filled” stroll at Souq Waqif.
The activities, led by Qataris as tour guides, include visiting and discovering the outlets which offer traditional clothes, an array of accessories, local handicrafts, incense, coffee and tea, dates, and artworks, among others.
The shopping tours take festival-goers to “an authentic and culture-filled” stroll at one of Qatar's historic places. NTC-supplied pictures
In addition to teaching participants to identify a bad or good quality product, the tours also feature live demonstrations of karak and Arabic perfume preparations, among others.
“It’s also creating awareness (among the expatriate communities) on (for example) what to buy, how to use this herb, is it expensive or not,” which are some of the many questions we get and people want to get these answers from a local,” al-Shammari said.
“These are mostly people who are already in Doha but they want to experience and discover it in a different way. They have been to Souq Waqif several times but never seen or bought these items and that,” she added.