Organizers of the annual Geneva International Motor Show have struck a deal with Qatar's tourism board to split hosting of the show between Qatar and the traditional home of Switzerland.
It means there will now be the traditional Geneva show plus a new Qatar Geneva International Motor Show. Why the new show wasn't simply called the Qatar International Motor Show isn't clear.
The new show will take place in Qatar's capital, Doha, on a biennial basis. The old Swiss show will remain on an annual basis.
The Geneva auto show was last run in 2019. The next running is scheduled for February 19-27, 2022, after the 2020 and 2021 shows were canceled due to the pandemic. The first Qatar show will take place in the fall of 2022 or 2023. A final decision on dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
The popularity of auto shows was waning even before the pandemic hit, due to many automakers preferring to showcase new models online at their own leisure instead of during the busy press days of the traditional shows. This has resulted in several shows undergoing a transformation. Germany's traditional auto show in Frankfurt moves to Munich this year and will place an emphasis on mobility in urban areas rather than strictly private cars. Detroit's annual auto show is also being rebooted as an outdoor summer festival. Meanwhile Australia has been without a major auto show for almost a decade.
The Geneva auto show also came close to being closed for good, though the new deal with Qatar will likely keep things going. The show is one of the oldest on the calendar, with the first running having taken place in 1905.
For Qatar, the new show will be a way for the country to boost tourism as it looks to diversify its revenues away from the energy sector. The country is also set to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, the first time the event is being held in the Middle East.