Posted on August 30, 2016

The Qatar Olympic Committee has reflected on the outstanding success of Bayt Qatar following a fortnight of culture, sport, music and art. 16,000 visitors  flocked to the Qatar Olympic Committee’s (QOC) home for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which was rated as one of the top three hospitality houses in Rio de Janeiro, and was sold out just four days after opening.

Visitors included a combination of members of the public from Brazil and around the world, members of the Olympic family and VIPs guests, including a number of Brazilian football legends and local celebrities. They all experienced Qatar’s unique culture, warm hospitality and passion for sport through interactive exhibitions, traditional activities, live music performances and a highly popular outdoor Souq.

Speaking about the success of Bayt Qatar, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, said: “The QOC believes in the power of Olympism to unite cultures, backgrounds and beliefs and encourage mutual understanding, friendship and respect. This is exactly what we have been able to achieve at Bayt Qatar and it has been a pleasure to welcome so many people from Brazil and all over the world to share what exactly Qatar is about and celebrate the true spirit of the Olympic Games. This experience has brought Qatar and Brazil closer together and we have been so proud to see Brazilians cheering for Team Qatar athletes, just as we have been cheering for Brazilian athletes. We have built new friendships, learned more about each other and have memories to last a lifetime.

“Rio de Janeiro has staged a phenomenal Olympic Games set against a stunning backdrop with so many inspirational sporting moments. It has been an honour to have been a part of it and I would like to extend the warmest thanks and congratulations on behalf of the whole QOC to everyone involved in the organisation of Rio 2016 and for making us feel so welcome.”

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One of the most memorable highlights came on Wednesday 10th August, when the QOC partnered with Save the Dream for an incredible event powered by Ooredoo. The Bayt Qatar souq was transformed into a football pitch and saw some of the legends of the game - including Cafu, Zico, Trezeguet, Karembeu, Dunga, Petković, Felipe, Assuncao, Lucio and E Marcelo Travares - surprise children from a local favela with the match of their lives. The inspirational story of the day that the dreams of these street children came true was documented in two films released by the QOC on their social media channels and have amassed over 20 million views worldwide.

Another highlight came on Saturday 13th August with a Garangao night, which saw the QOC partner with Education Above All to provide children from a local favela, together with many Brazilian families, the opportunity to experience the Qatari traditional festival. In addition fashion shows, live graffiti painting by Qatari and Brazilian artists, daily Ardah shows, music performances by the Doha String Quartet, Kervansari Band and Sami Bordokan, Qatari Tea and Coffee workshops and movie nights have all enabled visitors to experience multiple aspects of traditional and modern Qatar. Every day there have been long queues for the public to have their photos taken in traditional Qatari dress, have their name written in Arabic calligraphy, participate in henna painting and have a taste of Qatari food.

Following their visit to Bayt Qatar, one member of the public said: “When I read the program about Bayt Qatar, I was sure this was the most unique experience that we have here in Brazil”, whilst another said, “I was really interested in coming here to learn more about the Arabic culture, architecture and arts. I was most impressed having my photo taken in Arabic dress.”

International and Brazilian media have also been extremely positive about Bayt Qatar with the Wall Street Journal listing it as one of four must see hospitality houses, Brazil’s most read newspaper, O Globo, describing it as ‘a luxurious Middle Eastern Palace’, and Brazil’s most read magazine, Istoe, stating that it ‘stands out on the social side of Rio 2016’. In total, there have been over 400 news stories written or broadcast about Bayt Qatar to date. On social media, popular Brazilian actress, Flavia Alessandro, shared the experience of her visit with her 3.7 million Instagram followers and many of the Brazilian football legends posted photos of their time at Bayt Qatar to their large followings.

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The success of Bayt Qatar was made possible thanks to the QOC’s National Partners, Ooredoo, Qatar Airways and QIC Group. All three organisations hosted their own activities and exhibitions in the house for the duration of the Olympic Games guided by a shared conviction that sport has the potential to enrich lives and stimulate human growth. Qatar Foundation, Al Shaqab, Qatar Museums, Katara, Doha Film Institute, Aspire, Aspetar, ADLQ, We are Doha, and the Supreme Committee for the Delivery and Legacy contributed further to the success of the house with unique experiences, films, photos and content that helped showcase the very best of Qatar. 

All proceeds from public entry fees to Bayt Qatar will be donated to Futuro Olimpico, a Brazilian NGO that is young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into athletics and build a better future through sport. The donations will enable the NGO to buy new equipment and uniforms and provide a lasting legacy for Rio’s talented young athletes following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The QOC, together with the Qatar Athletics Federation and Aspire Academy also partnered with Futuro Olimpico to organise its Shine project, which is providing the opportunity for 10 talented young athletes from Rio de Janeiro to train at Qatar’s world-class facilities at the Aspire Academy for Sporting Excellence, with specialised coaching and sports science support. The 10 athletes visited Bayt Qatar to understand more about Qatar’s culture and the sporting facilities that they will be training at later this year.  Through Shine, the QOC hope to leave a compelling legacy from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As a final legacy, the QOC will be donating a library to Eleva School – a bilingual public school that will be housed in the Bayt Qatar building following the Games.

It is not only a legacy for Brazil that the QOC will leave behind from the Rio 2016 Games but also a legacy for Qatar. 70% of the QOC team working on the Bayt Qatar project are under the age of 30 and all have gained invaluable experience of working on large-scale projects at a major event, as well as a greater understanding of the operations of an Olympic Games – the world’s largest sporting event. The QOC places an important focus on developing and training young people and the team will return to Qatar with new transferable skills, valuable learnings and high-level experience that will provide an important foundation for the QOC to build on for the future.