Qatar's first hot-air balloon gets underway in Aspire Park
December is proving to be one of the most exciting months of 2019 for the people of Qatar.
In addition to the football action, presented through the 24th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup and the highly-anticipated FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, a host of musical performances by renowned regional and international pop-stars are set to leave citizens and residents in awe.
Enriching the vibe of the month is Qatar's first hot-air balloon festival that kicked off yesterday in Aspire Park with more than 30 balloons from 13 different countries.
Thousands of Qatar citizens and residents arrived at the venue to witness the inaugural edition of the festival take off.
Entry to the festival is free of charge.
The 12-day festival brings together teams from the United Kingdom, the United States, Qatar, Italy, Croatia, France, Lithuania, Spain, and Belgium.
The teams will fly over Doha's landscapes at a maximum height of 2,000 feet (610 meters) every day after sunrise. Each flight will last up to an hour.
"No matter how someone describes this event, it won’t do any justice. People need to see this event live in Aspire Park to appreciate it, so I would suggest not to miss this event," Captain Hassan Al Mousawi, CEO of Safe Flight Solutions, organizers of the event, said at a press conference earlier this week, according to The Peninsula.
For the festival's current edition, rides are not open to the public. However, visitors can enjoy the captivating sights complemented by live music, kids entertainment and culinary offerings.
"It's very new for Doha. Maybe for the next festivals, we will work on this to make it more accessible to the public," Maream al-Mousawi, the event organiser, told Al Jazeera.
The event will conclude on December 18, Qatar's National Day.
According to the organizers, next year's edition will be much bigger and include at least 60 balloons.
Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) serves as the strategic partner for the event, in addition to Qatar Airways as the official airline partner. Aspire Zone Foundation is the venue partner while Hertz is the ground transportation partner and Aura hospitality, is the hospitality partner.
Jawaher Al-khuzaei of QNTC said in a statement, "As we work to diversify Qatar’s calendar of festivals it is a pleasure to see our private sector partners taking the lead in building novel and attractive offerings. We’re excited to be a part of this event, which introduces a brand new tourism product to Qatari visitors and residents."
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