Imparting a fillip to the rapidly developing retail sector in Qatar, the QR6.5bn Doha Festival City (DHFC), which also includes 'the largest mall in Qatar,' officially opened its doors to the public on Wednesday.
Thousands of Qatar residents and visitors converged on the DHFC to shop, dine, and roam around what is described as 'the largest entertainment, retail and hospitality destination in the country.'
The mixed-use development, managed and operated by Al Futtaim, will soon open in stages a total of 540 retail outlets on a 244,000sqm gross leasable area. Qatar's first Ikea store was opened in March 2013 as the first phase of the DHFC.
“One of the most unique things about the DHFC is its sheer scale and size, it is by far the largest mall in Qatar and one of the largest in the whole Middle East region,” CEO Kareem Shamma said.
Doha Festival City will have 540 retail outlets. Picture: Jayaram
The other unique aspects of the DHFC includes “the number of firsts” it is bringing to the Qatar market such as Ikea, Angry Bird World, indoor snow park Snow Dunes, ‘edutainment’ park Juniverse and digital experience Virtuocity.
“We are bringing new and unique experiences to Qatar. We are opening the retail part of the mall and we will also open a whole host of theme parks, over the coming few months,” Shamma added.
Such offering, he stressed, will significantly contribute to Qatar’s tourism industry, putting the country on the map in terms of the variety of retail and entertainment 'not seen anywhere in the Gulf region.'
DHFC general manager Trevor Hill stated they have opened an extensive number of new-concept and “first-to-market stores.”
While the four theme parks are scheduled to open by the end of the summer, the DHFC opened its purpose-built outdoor leisure trail, a 3km track designed for fitness enthusiasts to enjoy.
Described as a ‘smart mall’, the DHFC combines digital wayfinding, smart car parking and free high-speed WiFi to its extensive digital media network.
Marks & Spencer also opened its biggest store in Qatar, as well as its world renowned chilled food, M&S Café for the first time at DHFC.
Over the next few weeks visitors will also be able to enjoy brands including the first VOX Cinemas in Qatar and the world’s largest Monoprix Hypermarket among many others.
“After many months of anticipation, we are proud to finally welcome the public to our world-class destination and are already enjoying the positive feedback,” Hill added.