Doha, a dynamic desert city, will soon host the World Incubation Summit 2019. Many WIS19 attendees have never traveled to Qatar before, and naturally, have loads of questions on what the city is really like. Before the WIS19 and your adventure to Doha, here are 10 travel tips for Doha to help you enjoy your journey to attend the World Incubation Summit 2019!

  • 1. Do I need a visa?

    Passport holders from many countries can enter Qatar with no prior arrangements for a visa. The visa waiver program duration depends upon the country, so be sure to check the visa requirements of your country of citizenship before you travel and be prepared. Detailed information is available on our website here or via hotels available on our venues page here or on the official website here.

  • 2. What’s the weather like?

    Doha is a desert country, with temperatures routinely reaching in the hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit (50ºC) in the summers. During the World Incubation Summit 2019 during the month of November, temperatures average in the low 70’s to upper 80’s Fahrenheit (20 to 30ºC). Considered a transitional time, November is the ideal time to visit Doha for warm but not extreme temperatures. Expect mild, sunny weather during the Summit!

  • 3. What should I wear?

    Qatar is a Muslim country, with an expectation for respectful conservativeness for both residents and foreigners. Local women wear hijab, but it is not expected of foreigners and tourists. Men and women visitors to Doha should use common sense and dress modestly, covering shoulders and upper arms as well as knees, and not showing too much skin. Business casual attire is appropriate for all events during the WIS’19. Because of the high temperatures, the air conditioning can be aggressive in shopping malls, restaurants, and other indoor places, which is something to keep in mind.

  • 4. The unexpected

    Qatar attracts tourists from all over the world for the futuristic skyscrapers, year-round sun, and sandy beaches. The official language of the country is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood and some European languages are spoken in the hospitality industry. Be respectful of the local citizens and do not photograph them without their prior permission.

    Our travel partner, Qatar Airways, will spoil you for choice with round-trip flights from just about anywhere in the world. Attendees of WIS’19 are eligible for a special discount code to save up to 12%! See the WIS’19 website for details.

    Learn more about Doha and the World Incubation Summit by reading our blog, Why We Are Going to Doha for the World Incubation Summit 2019.

  • 5. Is Qatar safe?

    Following the advice to dress conservatively and respectfully goes a long way in preventing misbehavior and harassment. Whether travelling alone or in a group, women visiting Doha have no restrictions in the way of dress or behaviour in day-to-day life in Qatar, and can be assured they will be readily accepted and welcomed. Violent crime is very low in the country and most tourists will not experience any safety concerns. The typical concerns of traveling in any major city apply; avoid being out alone at night, follow local rules and laws, keep an eye on credit cards and avoid using ATMs other than those inside banking facilities. Overall, Qatar ranks number 21 on this list of the world’s safest countries, coming in above both the UK and the US in safety rating.

  • 6. Alcohol

    Sharia Law is the main source of legislation in Qatar, therefore alcohol is available in hotels only, and is not available in regular shops, restaurants, or bars. Don’t plan to BYOB after a stop in duty-free; you won’t be allowed and could get in trouble. Expect inflated prices to account for the strict import laws and the recently imposed “sin tax”. Afternoon tea is a social ritual, so expect to be spoiled for choice of hot, non-alcoholic beverages including delicious coffees and indulgent hot chocolates.

  • 7. Food

    Doha has every cuisine for every taste and every budget! Dining out is part of the culture here, with everything from masala dosas to steaks, weekend brunch, gourmet cupcakes, and organic produce. All the usual fast-food suspects – KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. – are available in person or for delivery, if you're not an adventurous type! Believe us; you will love the people, the food, and the atmosphere of Doha. After you experience the food and amazing hospitality the country has to offer, you may want to consider a return visit in the spring for the Doha Food Festival!

    Six Qatari dishes you shouldn't miss:

    • Machboos – a spiced rice dish mixed with marinated meat or seafood.

    • Harees – a porridge-like dish made of ground wheat, meat, and butter.

    • Thareed – a traditional spiced stew with vegetables and meat, served with bread on the bottom.

    • Balaleet – dual-purpose breakfast or dessert dish of fried noodles cooked in sugar and cinnamon, topped with an omelet.

    • Saloona – meat and vegetable broth with lots of vegetables, sometimes served with rice.

    • Luqaimat – Qatari donuts!

  • 8. Culture

    Some of the most amazing museums in the world are located in Qatar, including the Museum of Islamic Art. Even if you aren’t into museums, this one will enthrall you! The National Museum of Qatar is just as impressive, and there are also outstanding centers for modern, contemporary, sculpture, photographic art concentrations that attract world-class talent to the country. Aside from the artistic pursuits, the sports scene is also fantastic in Qatar, where they will play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Expect top-notch facilities for sailing, equestrian events, ice hockey, and golf. There are also world-class shopping centers scattered around Doha. In particular, Villaggio Mall is a Venetian-inspired wonderland of colorful streets that are completely enclosed to escape the extreme heat. To experience a traditional market, there is nothing that rivals Souq Waqif!

  • 9. Some basic information...

    The workweek runs Sunday to Thursday, with Friday being the start of the weekend. The city seems to roll up the streets by about 11 p.m. and is equally as deserted during the day when temperatures are high. Taxis are abundant and regulated; Uber is available but sometimes scarce. There is public transportation via bus service, but during the WIS’19, you will be able to rely on shuttles from the hotel to the main conference venue. The hotels on our list also have shuttles to and from the airport. Walking is not common due to the extreme temperatures, so be sure to stay hydrated if you venture out on foot. Electricity is 220/240 volts AC and 50Hz with the same socket type as used in the UK (square three-pin 13 amp).

  • 10. Innovation

    One of the reasons UBI Global decided to hold the World Incubation Summit 2019 in Doha is to give our community a first-hand look into the dynamic innovation ecosystem. Doha itself is developing rapidly, with many areas of the city under construction for residential, business, cultural, sporting, and other purposes. For the FIFA World Cup alone, Doha is building 12 eco-friendly stadiums, some of which will have a seating capacity of up to 80,000 people. In addition to socially-impactful innovation, attendees of WIS’19 will witness many types of innovation and disruption happening right before their eyes.

    We hope this article including 10 Travel Tips for Doha will answer some of your questions. For more information on travel or on the World Incubation Summit 2019, please contact us on wis@ubi-global.com.