Friday, February 3, 2023

Oman adventure tourism draws global demand

The adventure tourism in Oman is witnesses an increasing international demand, as the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism exerts efforts to achieve an optimal utilization of natural and cultural resources.

Youssef bin Rashid Al Harassi, head of the Product Development Department at the Directorate of Product Development and Tourism Experiences at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, said: “Diversifying of tourism products is one of the most prominent methodologies of the ministry in developing the tourism flow and enhancing the tourism experiences, in particular, the global adventure tourism activities that attract tourists and favoured by adventurers globally.”

Al-Harassi added: The countries of adventure tourism have become a compass direction for various tourists, as well as it this sector contributes to strengthening the economic growth, while the Sultanate of Oman ranks among the countries that attract many segments of tourists and those interested in adventure tourism and adventurers with all their hobbies.

He clarified that the geographical nature of the Sultanate of Oman, including mountains, caves, valleys, sandy deserts, and a marine environment contributes to raise the number of tourism adventurers from all over the world as well as the domestic tourists who are interested in enjoying adventure tourism in the Sultanate of Oman.

Al-Harassi pointed out that, there are several indicators for measuring the growing demand for adventure tourism in the Sultanate, such as the experience of (Alila Jabal Akhdar Resort) in the Wilayat  Al Jabal Al Akhdar at the Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah, where the number of practitioners of adventure tourism activities in during the period of January to December 2022 reached to (1950) tourists.

He added that the number of tourists in (Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort) also reached (2000) tourists, emphasizing that, the number of adventure tourism enthusiasts are constantly growing in all governorates of the Sultanate of Oman. While the Ministry is closely following this growth, in cooperation with the competent authorities to provide all the necessary services to the tourists, and  to  upgrade the  rank of the Sultanate of Oman among the essential safe tourist destinations for adventure tourism activities in the world.

“The Sultanate of Oman is unique in its natural diversity, which is reflected in the diversity of tourist destinations, that are preferred by the adventurers, while the natural sites such as the Eastern and Western Al -Hajar Mountains and some sites at the  Governorate of  Dhofar Governorate and Musandam have become attractive destinations for practicing adventure tourism activities,” Al-Harassi explained.  

He pointed out that the growth witnessed by adventure tourism in  Oman has created a movement in the tourism sector, as the constant desire of international adventure tourism enthusiasts and domestic tourists to enjoy adventure tourism destinations in the country also contributes to enhancing the experience of these tourists in the practice of adventure tourism.

He emphasized that the adventure tourism sector expects to receive a good response from tourism companies to submit licensing applications during the first quarter of 2023, while an electronic system will be launched to facilitate for the travel and tourism offices to submit applications for licenses to add the activity of organizing adventure tourism trips such as adventure tourism trip organizers.

 In an effort to maximize the benefit of the unique natural diversity in the Sultanate of Oman, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is working on implementing many projects that give value added to the natural ingredients, where the first phase of the slide wire project at the Governorate of Musandam among the most important projects to be launched during 2023.

The Ministry also cooperated with some youth teams in maintaining the railway track for climbing in Jebel Shams, in the Wilayat of Al-Hamra at the Governorate of  Al-Dakhiliyah in addition to launching a new tourism product in  Al-Shareja village in Jabal Al-Akhdar through Al Qimma Company, a youth company,

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, in cooperation with  Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran Group), has supplied and installed information and guidance panels for walking and cycling at the Governorate of Musandam.

 The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has announced a tender for supply and installation of trekking path sign board, including 73 guiding boards and 30 informational boards for mountain paths in the Sultanate of Oman,  particularly  in the eastern and western Al Hajar mountain range and the Governorate of Muscat, which expected to be completed during the second half of 2023.

One of the most important objectives of introducing the natural and cultural context of mountain trails and their ranges is to inculcate concepts of awareness of their importance in enhancing the tourism experience and educating adventurers about the security and safety standards that the ministry aspires to achieve in the first place.

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism signed with Ministry of Defense, last July, a cooperation agreement in the fields of auditing and training in adventure activities aimed at encouraging and strengthening prospects for joint cooperation between the two parties to benefit from the expertise owned by the Adventure Training Center of the Royal Omani Army in the field of auditing standards for compliance with requirements. Security, safety and a mechanism for organizing and developing adventure activities.

Coordination has been made with the Adventure Training Center regarding the possibility of providing training courses for employees of tourism companies operating in the organizing tourism trips, especially in the practice of adventure activities.

The training activities also includes  providing training courses for Omani tour guides who are specializing  in adventure tourism , whether to practice the tourism guide profession ,or  for the Omani employees of tourism companies specialized in the field of adventure tourism.

There is also a capacity development program for mountain ambulance and rescue in cooperation with the Civil Defense and Ambulance Authority, where four courses in capacity development for   mountain’s adventurers’ rescue and ambulance were provided. This program targets national cadres of employees of tourism companies specialized in adventure tourism and Omani individuals adventurous in the same field.

The program also aims to develop youth capabilities in the skills of dealing with potential accidents and mountain rescue through the practical implementation of rope descent and rescue of the injured adventurers, teaching the basics of first aid and safety methods in adventure activities and explaining methods of dealing with tools and equipment, including rope ties, as well as how to deal with In the event of stings and bites of insects and reptiles during adventure trips.

Global growth of adventure tourism
Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing types of tourism in the world, according to reports issued by The Adventure Travel Trade Association. The size of the global adventure tourism market, which reached $282.1 billion, is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 15.2% during the year of 2030.

Adventure activities in the Sultanate of Oman:

Exploring mountains and caves: It is possible to enjoy climbing the Rocky Mountains in the eastern and western of Al -Hajar Mountains, or descending from the mountain using ropes, while exploring caves such as the “Al -Hoota” cave in Al-Hamra, Muqal Cave in Wadi Bani Khalid, and the Jinn Council.

Sport of Surf challenge: The sports of surf challenge can be practiced from the highest mountains to more than 3,000 km of coastline, while the Sultanate of Oman is a world-class destination for water sports such as windsurfing, windsurfing and diving.

Flying sports: Flying sports can be practiced through the sport of paragliding, which is witnessing a wide and growing demand.

Off-road thrills: The car driving enthusiasts, especially those with four-wheel drive cars , they have the chances to  enjoy excursions full of excitement and unlimited fun through the roads of the Sultanate of Oman, whether those located on the top mountain peaks or in the depths of valleys.

Bicycling: The bicycling sports can be practiced by the amateur and professional cycling within  the diverse and wonderful nature of the country.

The adventure tourism sector expects to receive a good response from tourism companies a, and an electronic system will launched to submit licensing applications during Q1 2023

Statistics issued by the World Tourism Organization indicate that the global adventure tourism market size reached 282.1 billion dollars in 2021 and is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent from 2022 to 2030.

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