- Yousef bin Rashid Al-Harassi: The 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
- The adventure tourism sector expects to receive a good response from tourism companies to submit licensing applications during the 1stQ, 2023
- The slide wire at the Governorate of Musandam among the most important projects to be launched during 2023
- Studying global practices, safety standards, and legislative framework, are prominent efforts of Ministry of Heritage and Tourism to organize adventure tourism
Muscat: The adventure tourism in the Sultanate of Oman witnesses an increasing international demand, as the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism exerts efforts to achieve an optimal utilization of natural and cultural resources which contribute to develop the tourism and heritage sector, enhancing the economic diversification, building of a sustainable tourism economy and to achieve the objectives vision of Oman 2040.
The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, in cooperation with the competent authorities, closely follows this growth in adventure tourism and provides all the necessary services required by the tourist and upgrade the rank of the Sultanate of Oman among the most important safe tourist destinations in the world, through studying international practices, safety standards, legislative framework and via setting various projects, in light a wide response by the tourism companies to include this product in their programs.
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 head of the Product Development Department in the Directorate of Product Development and Tourism Experiences added: 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.
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 1stQ, 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.
With this step to launch the electronic system for submitting applications for adding an adventure tourism activity, a clear picture will be formed of the number of the companies that practice this activity, which will help the ministry to do more to organize this type of tourism in a systematic and high-quality manner.
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 .
Hopefully, these specialized projects related to adventure tourism will contribute to providing local communities with new sources of income and enhance economic performance in the governorates, where the organizers of tourist groups, tour guides, and small and medium enterprises will have good opportunities to invest in adventure tourism activities.
This activity will also help in enhancing the performance of other activities such as shelter facilities and local community initiatives towards providing food and drink services, in addition to enhancing the demand for local products for the practitioners of these activities.
Ministry of Heritage and Tourism announce Tender No. 8/2022 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.
Al-Harassi continued, saying that the efforts of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism to organize the adventure tourism sector came after researching and studying the best international practices that can be utilized by the Sultanate of Oman with the aim of organizing adventure tourism activities.
In this regard, the New Zealand experience and model in organizing and managing adventure tourism activity was studied, which is considered one of the best models both in terms of applying security and safety standards and the legislative aspect.
The success of the New Zealand model experience is evident in that one out of every three visitors to New Zealand has a relationship with adventure tourism, as this is reflected in the high tourism revenues in New Zealand. A memorandum of cooperation has been signed with the New Zealand government through which experiences are exchanged between the two parties in the field of adventure tourism in particular and the tourism sector in general.
The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has sought to find the legal framework regulating all adventure activities in accordance with the criteria used for licensing them. A regulatory framework has been developed for operators and executors of projects related to adventure tourism, as well as setting up an audit system on risk and safety management for companies and individuals practicing and operating such activities, while ensuring that specialized centers for training are arranged for the practice of adventure activities.
The ministry also seeks to encourage the private sector to invest in adventure tourism projects of all kinds.
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.
Outputs of the exchange of experiences:
The Oman Tourism Forum in its first edition under the title Adventure tourism held on 27-28 September 2022 , that aimed at exchanging experiences with partners in the sector , had provide a number of practical outputs, as followings :-
- Strengthening the partnership between the concerned authorities in the public and private sectors and members of the local community towards managing the adventure tourism product in a systematic and quality manner.
- Emphasizing the importance of realizing responsibility for knowing the obligations and requirements before embarking on the development of any idea related to an adventure project.
- The importance of full awareness of the requirements before publishing on various social media about individual experiences.
- Organizing specialized programs related to awareness and training in cooperation with academic, professional and media bodies.
- To take advantage of the available digital applications and means before starting any practice.
- To enable the local community to benefit from the awareness and training opportunities provided by the concerned authorities.
Security and safety measures in adventure tourism:-
The Adventure Training Center of the Royal Omani Army, is the auditing body for security and safety systems for the practice of adventure tourism activities. In terms of :-
- Auditing security and safety requirements and issuing an audit certificate for approving the risk management plan for security and safety for all adventure activities.
- Auditing the practitioners and operators of these activities for their fulfillment of risk management requirements for safety and security, and issuing relevant certificates.
- Carrying periodic inspections of companies and monitoring of adventure activities of all kinds, and submission of reports to the Ministry on violations
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 in 2021, reached to $ 282.1 billion,
Forecasts to expand in the adventure tourism 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 can be practiced through the sport of paragliding, which is witnessing a wide and growing demand.
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.
The bicycling sports can be practiced by the amateur and professional cycling within the diverse and wonderful nature of the country.