Visa-free entry for Indians into Qatar has opened doors for some unique opportunities in the tourism sector as an Indian couple has chosen Doha as the venue for their destination wedding.
To be held at The Ritz-Carlton Doha, the wedding will see more than 1,000 guests flown in from all over the world. The wedding party has booked the entire hotel, all 374 rooms, for the event and the celebration will continue for three days including a musical evening by renowned Indian pop band Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.
According to the general manager of the hotel, the negotiations to finalise the venue have been going on for almost a year. The family was looking at a few other options also including a few in other GCC countries. But, finally they chose Doha and The Ritz-Carlton.
Erden Kendigelen, general manager, The Ritz-Carlton
“The fact that we have a wonderful and newly renovated property went in our favour, but what really clinched the deal is the announcement by Qatar government in August 2017 allowing citizens of 80 countries visa-free entry to the country. We were also able to anticipate and cater to every need of the family and this created an emotional engagement with them,” Erden Kendigelen, general manager, The Ritz-Carlton, said.
The hotel has roped in prominent names from the world of Indian traditional weddings to orchestrate the three-day affair. The luxury wedding planners Divinity Weddings, famed decor designer Heena Patel of Amaahyaaj in Vadodara and Mumbai’s prominent gourmet vegetarian catering company Popular Caterers will work closely with The Ritz-Carlton Doha teams. Some of them are already here getting the preparation going. To get the authentic feeling right the hotel is procuring a great many things straight from India. They had shipped in two containers full of kitchen equipment to prepare the traditional food for the guests.
The Ritz-Carlton Doha wants the event to be a showpiece event and the first in many. They are not new to hosting weddings as they host around 200 local weddings a year including 5-6 VIP weddings. But what makes this different is the fact that a huge number of people are flying in to attend a traditional Indian wedding infused with Arabic elegance. This also puts Qatar in the tourism map for destination weddings, which is very popular among Indian elites.
“We have put in a lot of effort into planning the nitty-gritties along with the family and the professionals from India. We even attended a traditional marriage ceremony in India to understand the requirements better. There is a lot of excitement among the ladies and gentlemen of the hotel as this is a great opportunity to showcase our property and also Qatar as a destination for such huge events,” Kendigelen added.
The hotel with the help of various government bodies like QTA and Qatar Airways have arranged for a smooth arrival and custom procedures at the airport. Around 100 families will stay back after the wedding for a tour of Qatar. During the ceremonial days, Ritz is planning short trips for guests to Museum of Islamic Art, Souq Waqif and shopping centres.
“Our ultimate goal is to promote our destination and showcase the proud Qatari heritage while our guests experience a memorable, unique and unforgettable comfort that will stay with them forever,” a hotel spokesperson said.
A special team has been formed to take care of the guests, right from the arrival at the airport to their departure, and assist them throughout the 3-day event.