Qatar is planning to revive the once popular Al-Shamal municipality by turning it into an historical tourist attraction, in a bid to slow the exodus of residents to the capital Doha, it was reported on Thursday.
Al-Shamal was once a popular location for Qataris to live, but the discovery of oil and gas saw Doha rise in prominence and the municipality has now been overshadowed by its better known rival.
A 2010 census by the Qatar Statistics Authority found while Al Shamal municipality is four times the size of Doha it had a population of just 7,975 residents, compared to 796,947 in the capital.
Located 100km north of Doha, Al Shamal will be home to a 45,330-seat stadium as part of preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and, in a bid to boost its image and deter the exodus, officials are looking to maximise its heritage and transform it into a major tourism attraction.
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) chairman Issa bin Mohamed Al-Mohannadi told local media the new plans will include a modern new harbour and development of the region’s archaeological sites.
Government funding and technical expertise are in place, Al-Mohannadi said.
"This could create more employment opportunities and improve local economy that could encourage locals to stay in Al Shamal," Al Mohannadi was quoted as saying by The Peninsula newspaper.
Low-cost holiday guide: How to plan a well-deserved getaway on a budget
Experts share their tips on planning a low cost holiday...
Winter holidays in the Middle East and Western Asia
Discover nearby winter destinations like Lebanon, Azerbaijan...
Revealed: luxury travel trends for 2017
Flying to multiple destinations in one trip and planning...
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai opens its doors
52,000-square-meter property on Pearl Jumeirah houses four...
Dubai's Buddha Bar reopens Siddharta Lounge
New design features elevated deck with 360 degree views...
Dubai most popular spot for Brits spending Christmas abroad
Southall Travel reveals most popular long haul destinations...
How to book cheaper flights
Tips and tricks on how to land a good airfare deal