‘Oman Tourism — Gear­ing up for the fu­ture’: A suc­cess­ful event con­ducted by OFA

Times of Oman - - ROUND-UP -

MUS­CAT: A premium event ti­tled ‘Oman tourism - Gear­ing up for the fu­ture’ was hosted by OFA re­cently at Kempin­ski Ho­tel un­der the aus­pices of Maitha Saif Al Mahrouqi, Un­der­sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Tourism. The in­vi­tees to this elite event com­prised of over hun­dred ex­ec­u­tives from pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions in the tourism sec­tor, as well as the min­is­ters and un­der-sec­re­taries from min­istries.

The event started with a pre­sen­ta­tion by the four fa­mous French blog­gers who had trav­elled to var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions in Oman. What they en­joyed most was the un­touched nat­u­ral beauty that Oman had to of­fer as well as the ex­otic wild and ma­rine life. Be­fore clos­ing their pre­sen­ta­tion, they made a heart-touch­ing speech of how vi­tal it is to con­serve the en­vi­ron­ment.

This was then fol­lowed by a con­fer­ence with two pan­els of dis­cus­sions mod­er­ated by Cyril Pi­aia, As­so­ciate Part­ner, Strat­ford & Rus­sell and Board Mem­ber of OFA. The first panel fo­cused on how to meet the needs of a grow­ing tourism in­dus­try while cre­at­ing jobs and en­sur­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of Oman’s rich nat­u­ral and his­tor­i­cal her­itage. The pan­el­list were Michel Hart­brot, Pro­fes­sor, Ecole Hôtelière de Paris, Robert MacLean, Prin­ci­pal of Na­tional Hospi­tal­ity In­sti­tute, Medhi Ser­rour, Clus­ter Gen­eral Man­ager IBIS Mus­cat & Mer­cure So­har, Khaled Ab­dul Malak, sur­geon and ex­plorer and Badar Al Dhuhli, Tourism Lec­turer, Oman Tourism Col­lege.

Malak, a spe­cial­ist of ad­ven­ture tourism, fo­cused on the need to pre­pare the peo­ple as well as the sites in or­der to de­velop sus­tain­able tourism. He stressed on the need to val­orise nat­u­ral as­sets, while also en­sur­ing that all ef­forts are made to­wards its preser­va­tion. He pointed out that ef­forts should be made to set up ap­pro­pri­ate sig­nage, en­sure that the ar­eas are mapped and the routes marked clearly. MacLean and Al Dhuhli high­lighted the need to de­velop ap­pro­pri­ate train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grammes for the Omani youth to en­able them to take the lead in de­vel­op­ing the tourism sec­tor. The sec­ond panel laid a strong fo­cus on in­fras­truc­tural devel­op­ment to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of tourists. The panel stated that this could be done by lev­er­ag­ing on new tech­nolo­gies. The pan­el­list were Ja­mal Al Azki, Coun­try Man­ager, Oman Air, Jonathan Stearns, Part­ner Mazars, Lu­jaina Al Kharousi, CEO En­vago, Ma­jid Al Whasa­hahi, CEO, Gate com­pany, Cashio Vet­tom, Gen­eral Man­ager, Khimji House of Travel and Thierry Per­rot, Re­gional Gen­eral Man­ager, In­tercon­ti­nen­tal ho­tels group Oman. The pan­el­lists dis­cussed Oman’s pre­pared­ness in terms of in­fras­truc­ture, tried to un­der­stand what was miss­ing and fo­cused on ar­eas that could be fur­ther im­proved.

“The tourism in­dus­try over the years has seen re­mark­able growth and we are proud to say that it does play a crit­i­cal role in the coun­try’s eco­nomic and so­cial growth. Oman in­deed takes great pride in the touris­tic des­ti­na­tions it has to of­fer; some of them are quite unique and can be found in only select places around the world,” said Maitha Saif Al Mahrouqi, Un­der­sec­re­tary of Min­istry of Tourism. “While we are en­cour­ag­ing tourism, we also want to make sure that we have the nec­es­sary mea­sures in place to pre­serve our her­itage sites. We want to be well-pre­pared to wel­come a larger num­ber of tourists.”

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