Qatar inaugurates the ultimate automobile festival

The Times Kuwait Report

Qatar Tourism, in collaboration with the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS), is holding the inaugural edition of GIMS Qatar from October 5 to 14 with 31 renowned automotive brands that is showcasing the latest innovations from the industry. Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani inaugurated Qatar’s first Geneva International Motor Show at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) on Thursday Oct 5, igniting what is termed as the automotive passion of Qatar.

The inauguration of GIMS coincides with the Qatar Formula One Grand Prix in Lusail. Spanning over 10,000 m2 the exhibition is hosting 31 renowned automotive brands, including Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, BMW, KIA, Audi, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Vinfast, Chery and much more.

Alongside the main exhibition, GIMS Qatar 2023 will create the ultimate automotive festival of automotive excellence in Qatar with four immersive experiences taking place across some of the most prominent tourism destinations in the country. These include a “Future Design Forum” at the National Museum of Qatar, thrilling offroad adventures at Sealine, exhilarating ride-and-drive experiences at the Lusail International Circuit, an exquisite gallery of classic automobiles, and a grand parade of automotive excellence along the iconic Lusail Boulevard.

Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Deputy Chairman of Qatar Tourism, said: “”GIMS Qatar is setting the stage for what promises to be the most prestigious and influential automotive experience in the Middle East.

Welcoming the world to the ultimate automotive festival is a testament to our dedication to creating unforgettable experiences for residents and visitors. Hosting large-scale, globally recognised events such as GIMS Qatar exemplifies our commitment to our strategic vision of becoming the fastest-growing destination in the Middle East by 2030.”

David Beckham at the Opening Ceremony

Qatar to the media a day prior to the opening to the public Qatar Airway’s Group CEO and Chairman of Qatar Tourism Akbar Al Baker said Qatar’s open approach to innovation and development made the country a perfect host for GIMS. The exhibition, returning after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is being held outside its base in Geneva for the first time in its illustrious century-old history.

“At the crossroads of East and West, and as a pioneering state that has welcomed innovation and development across diverse sectors, Qatar is a fitting destination for this prestigious motor show’s first foray outside of its home country of Switzerland,” Al Baker said, adding that the event’s venue, the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center will witness groundbreaking reveals of the latest innovations by 31 renowned automotive brands.

“The launch of the Geneva International Motor Show in Qatar is a testimony to Qatar’s rising global prominence as a prime destination for large-scale internationally important events going forward. GIMS Qatar will be hosted every two years in Doha, providing an unrivalled opportunity for brands to present their latest technologies, most innovative ideas and concepts, and inspire the next generation.

Al Baker pointed to Qatar’s overreaching development of its tourism sector over the past decade alongside the country’s investment in building premium conference venues and an ambitious strategy to become the fastest-growing tourism destination in the Middle East by 2030.

“The state has dynamically pursued a strong and ambitious strategy that has seen investment into the sectors to create new tourism assets, strengthen the country’s infrastructure and diversify the tourism offering to include business, sports, cruise and other important tourism pillars. With its futuristic skyline, traditional souks and pristine beaches, Qatar offers everything from desert adventures to immersive art exhibitions, exquisite dining experiences and much more,” Al Baker added.

On the other hand, the Chief Executive Officer of GIMS, Sandro Mesquita, called the partnership between GIMS and Qatar as perfect. He added that this year’s exhibition would drive GIMS to become a more global entity with one brand but two platforms in Doha and Geneva. According to Mesquita, GIMS and Qatar have a clear ambition to make the exhibition the premier auto show of the Middle East and beyond and to make it the most dynamic car show, offering unique experiences both in and outside the car.

“With GIMS Qatar, we pave the way for a new type of motor show. It is an innovative, decentralized platform for brands. We have been revealing the future of automotive since 1905, and in that time, we have become a sounding board for the industry. Our Geneva Salon has, for many years, allowed the great and good of the automotive industry to connect, share ideas and inspire the sector’s future. Wherever and whenever a GIMS event occurs, it brings the same excellence,” Mesquita said.

Running between 5-to-14 October, the automotive extravaganza is set to spotlight 31 iconic automotive brands—from Toyota, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz among others. Held outside of Geneva for the very first time, the mega 10-day event is providing a unique experience to discover the world’s biggest car manufacturers, dozens of which are flaunting their latest pieces. The major automobile event in Qatar comes after the signing of a decade-long agreement between the Gulf state and GIMS organisers in 2021 to host the illustrious 118-year-old event biennially from 2023.

The Swiss spring exhibition is set to recommence in the European country in 2024. This year’s edition of the event at DECC highlights the surge in electric vehicles (EV’s) in Doha and the rest of the region, with at least three brands on display for visitors, with Lucid Group Inc. set to showcase new editions of its Air EV. The luxurious Mercedes-Benz AG is also driving forward the EV trend with the company’s Qatar distributor unveiling its all-electric range, hailed as a landmark in the Gulf state’s move towards sustainable mobility.

Concurrent events will also take place during the week long event such as the Forum for the future of car design, which will include a rich programme of keynote speakers, exclusive panel discussions and a networking lunch that will facilitate disruptive dialogue and cross-disciplinary thinking to discuss the future of the automotive industry. The Sealine Adventure Hub, located at the luxurious Outpost Al Barari, will offer adventure seekers the opportunity to explore the surrounding dunes and see first-hand the skills and capabilities of automotive brands participating in GIMS Qatar 2023 as they conquer the toughest terrains.

In collaboration with the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), GIMS Qatar will also host four exclusive Track Days at Lusail International Circuit. Guests will be invited to enjoy premiere access with the unique opportunity to drive on the newly renovated circuit directly following the F1 champions.

The Urban Playground at Lusail Boulevard will bring the passion and energy of GIMS Qatar to life with engaging performances and interactive activities. A special Parade of Excellence will take place on October 12 at 19:00 which will feature up to 100 dream cars and unique models cruising along Lusail Boulevard’s 1.3km iconic strip.

At the DECC, a Classics Gallery will offer visitors an opportunity to discover an exclusive line-up of the world’s greatest and finest motorcars. Showcasing some of the best cars ever made and top concourse winners, this exhibit is a must-attend event for all discerning classic car buyers, collectors, and enthusiasts. The exquisite display also shines spotlight on the automotive jewels from Qatari and Arabian private collections.

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