Qatar is a fast-growing economy with one of the highest ranking GDP per capita in the world. As the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas, Qatar has a well-developed oil and gas sector. Qatar’s economy is modernising rapidly and, with a predominantly young population, it continues to evolve and build bridges across cultural and geographical boundaries.
Location and geography
The State of Qatar is a peninsula along the western coast of the Arabian Gulf and is approximately 100 kilometers in width and 200 kilometers in length. Its territory extends to several islands off its coast, the largest of which are Halul, Shraouh, and Al-Asshat. Qatar shares its southern border with Saudi Arabia and a maritime border with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
Doha is Qatar’s capital city and it serves as its economic, cultural, and educational hub. It is situated in the middle of Qatar’s east coast near to the country’s other key cities among which are Al-Wakrah, Al-Khor, Dukhan, Al-Shamal, Msaieed and Ras Laffan.
More than half of Qatar’s 2.7 million population reside in Doha, among which the majority is Muslim. As an Islamic country, Qatar’s laws and customs comply with Sharia Law, respecting at the same time all other religions. With a large expatriate population, Qatar has developed a cosmopolitan culture over the years.
The official language is Arabic, though English is widely spoken and understood.
Qatar has a desert climate with year-round sunshine, hot summers and mild winters. Average monthly temperatures range from 17°C in January to 36°C in July, sometimes reaching highs of 40°C+ during the summer. Rain is infrequent, falling in brief showers mainly in winter.
The monetary unit of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (abbreviated to QR or QAR). The exchange rate is fixed at US$1=QR3.64. There are no foreign exchange controls. ATMs can be found in many locations and most shops and restaurants accept major credit cards.
Local time and business hours
Qatar local time is GMT +3 hours, and it does not change during winter/summer. The workweek is from Sunday to Thursday, with most offices closed on Friday and Saturday. In addition:
- Ministries and government entities are open for business from 7am to 2 pm
- Private companies and organisations are typically open from 8am to 12pm and from 4pm to 8pm
- Banks are typically open from 7:30am to 1pm
- Shopping malls are typically open from 9am to 10pm
Culture and attire
Courtesy and hospitality are virtues that are highly appreciated and respected in the Arab world. Even though Qatar has an open-minded attitude towards multiculturalism, visitors are required to observe local codes of conduct. To avoid offence, foreign visitors should dress modestly and be sensitive to Islamic culture.
Qatar one of the most open countries in the world. Visitors from over 80 countries can access Qatar visa free. Visit Qatar Tourism Authority for the most up-to-date the visa policies, and the process you need to follow to apply for a visa, if necessary.