With its expanding production of natural gas, Qatar
is in the midst of an economic boom. This tiny country —
only 11,347 sq km in total (or a little smaller than the state of
Connecticut) — was the world's top liquefied
natural gas exporter in 2007, and its per capita income has
become one of the highest in the world.
This prosperity has seen Qatar investing in and developing
its education and healthcare infrastructure. The Qatar
Foundation's Education City, located
in the capital city of Doha, is home to several branch
campuses of American universities including Weill Cornell Medical School, Texas
A&M, and Carnegie Mellon. Education City is also the home of
the Sidra Medical and Research Center, a specialty facility devoted to the care of pediatric and high-risk obstetric patients, which opened in 2018. In 2006, the
Hamad Medical Corporation established Hamad Medical City, also in
Doha, which houses new specialty hospital facilities
(totaling more than 1,000 beds), Ministry of Public Health
offices, and staff housing and recreation.
Qatar is also investing in its reputation as a leading
sports destination. In 2000, Doha was nominated to host the
15th Asian Games in 2006. In preparation for the Games, the
Aspire Zone was created. The Aspire Zone is a world-class
sports facility that houses the Aspire Sports Academy, the
National Teams Super Club, the Hamad Aquatic Centre, and the
opulent Khalifa International Stadium. While Qatar's bid for the
2016 Olympics was not successful, they did succeed in winning the
host to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In the summer the heat can be fierce, with temperatures
reaching 45C (113F) or higher. Winter temperatures are much
cooler, dropping as low as 7C (45F) at night.
Qatar is seven hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, and
eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
There is a plethora of shopping options in Doha, from
traditional souks (markets) to modern air-conditioned malls.
Recreation & Entertainment
There is much to see and do in Qatar. Dune-bashing in the
desert, attending the theatre, diving in and sailing on the
Arabian Gulf, horse and camel riding, dancing at hotel
discos, and playing on a professional standard golf course
to name only a few.