With Qatar winning the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, this tiny sheikdom on the northeasterly coast of the Arabian peninsula will become an increasingly popular travel destination. Being a predominantly Muslim country, the appropriate dress code may pose a bit of a dilemna for women traveling there from other countries. As the way a woman dresses in Qatar may influence how the locals view and treat her, here are a few travel style tips and simple courtesies that will ensure local values in Qatar are respected and traveling there an enjoyable experience.
The key to dressing appropriately in Qatar is to consider what Qatari women themselves wear. They are completely covered from head to toe in lose, non-revealing robes, with faces more than likely covered by a veil. Although the Qatari’s don’t necessarily expect Western visitors to dress in the same manner, what it does spell out to visitors is that wearing revealing clothes is not appropriate in this country. It is considered more respectful to wear loose-fitting clothes that cover the limbs:
1) Do have a look at the range of long cotton robes for women that can be purchased in the shopping malls, souqs, or even large supermarkets in Qatar. The selection of colours and prints have become wider and more fashionable over the years. Do wear these robes on your visit to Qatar as they will be far more comfortable in the heat and you will be much better received by the locals.
2) Do wear trousers, skirts and dresses that are well below the knee. Shorts, even if they are knee length, are inappropriate, as are skimpy skirts. Do not show any leg.
3) Do leave any tight fitting or low cut clothes at home. They will not be appropriate for Qatar.
4) Do keep the chest and shoulder area covered. Bring blouses or shirts that have either 3/4; or long sleeves. If bringing T-shirts, make sure that they are not tight and have the appropriate sleeve length. Keep the midriff well covered.
5) Take a chiffon scarf that you can fold up and pack into your handbag and use as head cover if required or when visiting mosques.
6) Consider the type of bathing suit that you bring to the Qatari beaches or hotel swimming pool. A bikini will attract unwanted attention. A full piece, with a modest cover-up when out of the water, will be more appropriate.
Women are expected to dress modestly in Qatar. And while most likely no Qatari will ever tell you that you shouldn’t be wearing something, it doesn’t mean that they will not take offense, which may in turn influence the manner in which you will be treated. Taking the time to follow a few simple travel style tips, practice some simple courtesies and conform to local dress standards will not only help to show respect for the local culture, it will avoid offending the locals.