The decision to ban restaurants at the Pearl-Qatar from serving alcohol has not hurt the island’s foot traffic, an official there has said.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Ehab Kamel, general manager of retail leasing at the Pearl Qatar, said the development has actually seen an increase in visitors since the December 2011 ban.
“The traffic of people increased, it (the alcohol ban) reflects very positively,” Kamel said.
Previously, several restaurant owners have complained about the ban, saying it has hurt their bottom line. In a visit to Doha in January, Gordon Ramsay called the new regulations “a turn-off,” adding:
“We had to make sensible commercial decisions - you’re not going to run that restaurant and look stupid and lose thousands on a weekly basis.”
Following the alcohol ban, the Pearl temporarily opened Qatar’s second QDC branch, which would have allowed residents with the appropriate license to purchase alcohol for home consumption.
But that closed after less than a day, presumably due to the outcry from the local population.
According to Arabian Business, United Development Company, which manages the Pearl, also plans to open a 10-screen cinema complex on the island by the end of the year, along with a Nandos, Red Lobster and a large Spinneys outlet.
The restaurants sync with the Pearl’s recently announced repositioning as a more “welcoming” and less high-end destination.