By Francesca Astorri
Lifting a ban on alcohol at the Pearl-Qatar could lead to resurgence in tourism numbers
Lifting a ban on alcohol at the Pearl-Qatar could lead to a resurgence in the number of tourists visiting the man-made development, according to one real estate expert in the Gulf country.
Alcohol was permanently banned from the Pearl-Qatar in December 2011, causing a slump in revenues for a number of restaurants and subsequent closures.
“Reintroducing alcohol would certainly help the development's appeal for residents, as well as attracting non residents to come and enjoy the restaurants and hence add to the economic and social activities that help create a thriving [area],” Edward Brookes, Head of Valuation at real estate firm DTZ Middle East told Arabian Business Qatar.
Earlier this month, celebrity UK chef Gordon Ramsay weighed in on the row over alcohol on the development, which led to the closure of his Maze restaurant in March 2012. Ramsay told one local news outlet that he did not see the rule "lasting much longer".
“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, while on a visit to the city to open two new restaurants at the St Regis Hotel.
DTZ Middle East's Brookes said that the Pearl-Qatar's reputation was also being impacted by delays in construction, as well as varying quality between residences on the development.
Porto Arabia, a major mixed use project that includes residences, a marina and a luxury hotel, was originally scheduled for completion in 2008. More than four years later and less than half of the development is ready for occupancy, with 18 out of the 31 towers still under construction.
“Differences in construction quality between towers of the luxury district are also creating a misperception of the place, making some expats rethink their decision to live at the Pearl. Construction supervision should remain an imperative in ensuring the highest standards at the Pearl are maintained,” Brookes said.
The absence of opportunity for a series of reviving libations will certainly be a turn off for football fans, come the FIFA World Cup. There will be a few hundred thousand international spectators seeking a spot of pre- and post-match merriment on a daily basis, of that there is no doubt.
Part of your lifestyle, if you happen to hail from Europe, Russia, North, South and Central America, the Antipodes, Africa and a fair chunk of the Sub-Continent and Far East.
We don't want that kind of tourism - Full stop :)
Qatar,s moral code dose not allow for alcohol period. Why they provide alcohol on Qatar Airlines should also be banned as the interior of there aircraft is there sovereign territory also. Say no to alcohol Qatar.
God bless you Abdullah, that is what make Qatar the same as Saudi. You have my full support.
Fair comment Abdullah ...but if thats your view then as a country you should not be bidding for international sporting events like the World Cup/Olympics..... these are international sporting events and should not be subject to political, religious or any other kind of restrictions that affect peoples enjoyment and choice.....by all means have these events but there should be no restrictions..... tourism is a wider/long term strategy question as World Cup/Olympics are one off events for a matter of a few weeks and will likely only occur in your country once in a generation.
I support your comment Abdulla. We have our religion and culture and all visitors should respect this. Why the French said that the Niqab is not acceptable as it is not part of the French culture. We say the same about Alcohol. The west should stop this double standard.
@ Abdullah - then put very simply - you will hardly have any tourism at all. Alcohol is ingrained in every other culture in the world - not just the west (sth America, Asia, East Asia, Africa). Therefore the vast majority of tourists from anywhere (except strict Muslim countries) will not want to go somewhere that there isn't alcohol and the rest wont come because people follow the crowd. If you want a dry tourist destination - good luck to you - just donâ€™t expect hardly anyone to come and scale down your operations massively.
You can apply the same principle to xpat workers as well - again this is fact. We come for lifestyle and alcohol is part of our lifestyle.
As Homekah points out - you will make Qatar the same as Saudi - so kiss goodbye to sporting events, tourism (you don't have religious pilgrims) and major business investment.
Alcohol is not the issue. Folks Qatar needs to sort its Tourism strategy out, its is well behind all major cities, has non existent or lousy beaches and zero resort hotels. The Pearl has little or no beach and simply put alcohol is not the issue. The Pearl was becoming a trashy place with expats and locals getting out of hand.
GCC arrivals to Dubai far exceed by 100's% the GCC arrivals to Qatar. If Qatar government did not put on so many heavily subsidised complimentary conferences, the place would be empty. At least 70% of all hotel occupancy in all Five Star hotels is actually paid directly or indirectly by Government entities.
Sort the strategy out as depending on sports tourism and conferences will not support the existing and planned hotels and developments like Lusail etc
Why everyone think that the fans will be alcohol drinkers? Please think again.
Qatar is within 5 hrs drive of millions of football fans, and it is time to change the image of a football fan from the drunken one.