Qatar International Food Festival

Qatar International Food Festival

In February 2018, Qatar National Tourism Authority (QNTC) UK & Ireland hosted a cooking class event for key influencers and journalists who write about food and travel which included a competition to win a place on their forthcoming Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) group press trip. There were two places up for grabs as prizes for the best dish which was judged by the host chef. These were awarded to Mariam Gabaji, Junior Commissioning Editor, Culture Trip and May Chong, Digital Influencer, Eat Cook Explore.

The press trip took place in March 2018 with the aim of showcasing the food festival to raise its profile in the UK & Ireland as well as experiencing Qatar’s wider gastronomy highlights while strengthening relationships with top media and influencers and generating positive coverage on Qatar via blog posts and live social media engagement. Now in its tenth year, the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) is a celebration of Qatar’s rich culinary offering giving visitors an insight into the country’s diverse food scene and the opportunity to learn culinary tricks from internationally-renowned chefs, and taste flavours from around the world. Highlights of the festival, which ran from 15–25 March 2018, included cooking classes and interactive displays by pastry chef Anna Olson, US Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and executive chef Damien Leroux of IDAM at the Museum of Islamic Art. Michelin-starred chef, Wolfgang Puck and US MasterChef star Christine Hà also featured alongside local, regional and international chefs at the Live Cooking Theatre which provided a daily showcase of different themes and cultures.

Qatar’s gastronomy scene continues to flourish with a number of world-renowned chefs opening restaurants in the destination, from Wolfgang Puck to Alain Ducasse to Nusret Gökçe (better known as #SaltBae). QIFF takes place annually in Doha in the Sheraton Grand Doha’s grounds, it features more than 175 food stalls with flavours to satisfy every palate, as well as healthy food options, a Coffee Zone offering the best beans from Qatar’s specialty outlets, a Farm Zone for kids, and free fitness classes at the Healthy Zone. Furthermore, nine international embassies were exhibiting to showcase their own national cuisine. Visitors also enjoyed daily entertainment including cultural shows, film screenings and a daily fireworks display each evening at 8pm.

In addition to the two influencers who won a place on the trip, we secured three additional influencers to attend the trip; Helen Best-Shaw, Digital Influencer, Fuss Free Flavours, Mehreen Amira, Digital Influencer, Wrap Your Lips Around This and Chrissie Walker, Digital Influencer and freelance food writer, Mostly Food & Travel Journal.

The trip built and increased awareness of the food festival and wider destination by highlighting its rich culture, diverse gastronomy, authentic local experiences and luxury 5-star hospitality. This activity resulted in eight online posts and articles on Qatar’s food scene and QIFF as well as over 100 social media posts which included @VisitQatar and #VisitQatar. The combined reach of the coverage generated was 1,931,393 and the total PR value was £1,188,910