The superstar players of Paris Saint-Germain ended 2017 with a stunning world first – a game on a floating football pitch during the club’s Qatar Winter Tour 2017 this week. The friendly game saw players including Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva, playing atop the pitch on the stunning waters of the Arabian Gulf against the dramatic backdrop of Doha’s glittering skyline.
The event concluded the team’s time in Qatar as part of its traditional mid-season Qatar Winter Tour.
In addition to recording a world’s first, the team also met with thousands of Qatari football fans and indulged in cultural activities organised by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). The team’s packed itinerary included a trip to the magnificent Qatari sand dunes of the Inland Sea for players Adrien Rabiot, Layvin Kurzawa and Marco Verratti, and a taste of Arabian hospitality at a traditional campsite.
Back in Doha, Julian Draxler, Thomas Meunier and Presnel Kimpembe learned about Qatar’s culture and history with a visit to the Msheireb Museums, while Dani Alves, Thiago Motta and Kevin Trapp were treated to a traditional Qatari meal on the rooftop of the Shangri-La Hotel, where they had a stunning view of the iconic Doha Corniche.
Rashed Al Qurese, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at QTA commented, “We are delighted to have once again hosted the Paris Saint-Germain squad in Qatar to explore and enjoy what our country has to offer, from state-of-the art sport facilities to authentic tourist experiences.” He continued, “We are particularly excited to have the team spread Qatar’s message of welcome to the world, following the country’s announcement of visa-free entry to 80 nationalities.”
To connect with their fans – young and old - several players took part in a public signing session as well as a training clinic led by coach Unai Emery. In addition, Paris Saint-Germain FIFA Qatari player Aameghessib and France’s Mannika took part in an esports tournament showcasing top Qatari talent, before taking on several Paris Saint-Germain football players.
Since 2012, QTA and Paris Saint-Germain have worked on a strategic partnership to promote Qatar’s sport and leisure tourism offerings. QTA has hosted several tours for Paris Saint-Germain teams, including the Qatar Handball Tour 2014 and the Qatar Ladies Tour 2015 and the Qatar Winter Tours in 2013 and 2015.
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About Qatar Tourism Authority
Qatar Tourism Authority’s mission is to firmly establish Qatar on the global map as a place where cultural authenticity meets modernity, and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment.
In 2014, QTA launched the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), which seeks to diversify the country’s tourism offering and increase the sector’s contribution to Qatar’s economy by 2030. In 2017, the Next Chapter of QNTSS was launched, charting the next five years (2017-2023) of the tourism sector’s growth.
Since launching QNTSS, Qatar has welcomed over 10 million visitors. The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with 2016 estimates showing a total (direct and indirect) contribution to Qatar’s GDP of 6.7%.