Pearl Qatar says alcohol ban has boosted visits

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

A controversial ban on alcohol at Qatar's manmade Pearl-Qatar development has not impacted negatively on the project as visitor numbers to the area have increased and the developer is in talks to launch more restaurants, retail outlets, a cinema and a supermarket, a senior executive told Arabian Business.

When the ban on the sale of alcohol was introduced in December 2011 some restaurants reported revenues had slumped by up to 50 percent, with others being forced to close within a matter of months.

Despite this, Ehab Kamel, general manager of retail leasing at the Pearl Qatar, argued the development actually registered an increase in visitors over the last year and a half. "The traffic of people increased, it (the alcohol ban) reflects very positively," Kamel said.

In January, British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay weighed in on the row, which led to the closure of his Maze restaurant in March 2012 after just two years of operation.

“I think the legislation in terms of operating restraints - going out for dinner and not being allowed to have a glass of wine - I think it’s one turn-off for any local,” he was quoted as saying by Doha News.

Earlier this year, real estate firm DTZ Middle East Head of Valuation, Edward Brookes, also told Arabian Business lifting the ban on alcohol on Pearl-Qatar could lead to a resurgence in the number of tourists patronising the development.

Kamel said developer UDC, which last month reported its net profits for the first quarter rose 16 percent year-on-year to QR229m, was in talks to boost the retail and food and beverage options available on the Pearl Qatar.

"We are signing with Ali Bin Ali for luxury watches and jewelry, we are doing the design of the store and discussing to take more brands... We are discussing with Blue Saloon as well," Kamel said.

A 10-screen cinema complex will open by the end of this year, along with several restaurants including Nandos and Red Lobster and a 4,000sqm Spinneys outlet.

Kamel also claimed rental rates were not being dropped in a bid to attract more tenants: "Our retail rentals are competitive. We are signing good deals and that means that retail rentals are acceptable.”

Related:
Companies
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Doug

I would be interested to know what the visitor figures were before and after the ban. At the moment, we just have vague speculation from Ehab Kamel, who offers absolutely no evidence or factual information to verify that there has been an increase in year-on-year visitors.

Given the very mealy-mouthed answer ("there's been more visitors since the ban"), logically, just one person has to visit the Pearl for them to say there have been more visitors - as Ehab Kamel says NOTHING about visitor growth. In other words, says there were 2 million visitors for the period 2011. Now say for the period 2011 AND 2012, there were 2,000,001 visitors (ie. one person visits in 2012). Mr Kamel can then claim there were more visits after the ban! Give us the facts!

Posted by: Really?

I moved away from TPQ last year because of the ban. My wife would frequently go to finer restaurants and spend QR 1200-1500 each week but decided that if we must get a taxi to go somewhere else then we may as well move. Good luck with the ice cream/coffee shops and Red Lobster....you're gonna need it.

Posted by: Steven

I love popping to The Pearl when I feel like embracing the quietness of a library, or maybe when I need to buy a Ferrari or some overpriced Armani clothes. I especially adore trying to work out the puzzle of what the people in the full length pictures over the windows of the 50% of empty shops there are pointing at, as they gasp things like 'Ooooh look at that!'' or ''Fabulous!'' I also like the cat and mouse game played with investors as they have no alcohol at first, (and no one complained), then they introduce it, then ban it, a really ''different'' business model for looking at attracting clients.

Posted by: AlexDon

I'm not sure what's the big fuss is all about.
As far as I'm concern things are rather simple, a Sharia compliant investor comes in to the picture and they expect that their investment is Sharia compliant (No alcohol).
Developer does what developers do (spin a yearn)...... Ok, no very Sharia, but then developers sell at profit......
On a more human level, the "Manager" does what he has to do (PR) to keep his job, the Licensed restaurants complaint, do their sums and move to hotels and so life goes on.
In my opinion the issue is it not Alcohol or Not Alcohol, but the way it was handled (nothing new there really).

Posted by: expatsaffa

Is this Qatar's version of 'build it and they will come'? haha so i guess 'they are all here, so please come!' is thier version... sounds a little desperate to me?

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Do celebrity branded projects ever work?

Do celebrity branded projects ever work?

The long list of celebrity-endorsed real estate developments...

1
Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

From currency woes to taxation loopholes closing and a clampdown...

2
Mall talk

Mall talk

Plans for Dubai’s Mall of the World have made headlines all over...

1
Most Popular
Most Discussed
  • 10
    UAE teens among the highest for obesity rates

    Everyone in UAE knows that biggest is best.

    UAE may not light up the international league tables in standard of living, education standards, press... more

    Friday, 29 August 2014 4:20 PM - Proud UAEer
  • 9
    Saudi Arabia seeks talks on hiring of Sri Lankan maids

    perhaps the unemployed saudi men or the millions of women who are not allowed to work could pick up a broom and start sweeping their own houses. more

    Sunday, 31 August 2014 3:28 PM - nice
  • 9
    Smoke-free Dubai - the big debate

    Surprisingly the only studies that show a negative financial impact of the smoking ban on the hospitality industry are sponsored by tobacco companies ... more

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 4:19 PM - Telcoguy
  • 24
    World's most pierced man refused entry to the UAE

    Tolerance has its limits everywhere including Dubai and those who considered Dubai a lawless circus were held accountable...so thank you Dubai authorities... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:51 PM - Khalil
  • 23
    Baby NOT on board?

    Some of you cry babies need to get your own personal apartments on the plane ! You cry more then the babies I have seen in my travels. LOL more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 9:10 AM - Jim
  • 21
    Israel “must be punished” over Gaza, says Dubai police chief

    This high moral ground that Mick is talking abt sound very familiar. May I remind Mick that the US & its British ally alone killed over 1 million innocent... more

    Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:12 PM - Mathew