Times of Oman
Omani duo promote hyperlocal tourism
July 17, 2017 | 8:13 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan/[email protected]
OmanTripper currently gets about 6,000 to 10,000 views a month, and as the blog has grown in popularity, Mohammadi and Al Balushi have big plans for the future.
 
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Muscat: Meet Ali Mohammadi and Riyadh Al Balushi—two Omanis who are looking to promote the lesser known areas of the Sultanate as they try to encourage hyperlocal tourism.

The two Omanis founded OmanTripper, a website dedicated to exploring the natural beauty across the length and breadth of the country, and it was one that was founded by chance.

“I was searching for places to explore in Oman, and there was no online resource to visit to find these places so I decided to create a blog for them myself,” said Mohammadi, while speaking to the Times of Oman.

“In the beginning, I would just go to places my friends recommended or places I’d heard of, and that is how this grew.”

“Because I have a passion for photography and I wanted to spread the word about what Oman has so that the world can come and see it, I decided to start this blog with my friend,” he added.

While Mohammadi does struggle for time to populate his blog with content on a regular basis; he does have a full-time job at a prestigious oil and gas company, he does at least post photos of the places he’s been to so that people can get an idea of the wealth of natural wonders that Oman has been blessed with.

OmanTripper currently gets about 6,000 to 10,000 views a month, and as the blog has grown in popularity, Mohammadi and Al Balushi have big plans for the future.

“I want to convert this into a place that acts as a community for other tour guides in Oman, so that they can freelance and take visitors to the many wonderful places we have in our country,” said Mohammadi, himself a registered tour guide, who takes tourists across the nation.

“If I do have time to explore new places, I often do this on the weekend,” added the 33-year-old, who recently completed his master’s degree. “It is the only time I have, and sometimes, there are others, who want to explore these places with me, so I ask them to come along for free.”

“I don’t want to charge people for my services because until I do this as a full-time job, I do not think it is fair to charge them to see my country,” explained Mohammadi. “In the past, I have had to turn down opportunities even when people have offered to pay me a considerable amount, because I was just tired, and I needed that day to myself.”

Despite the momentum being generated by the government and private investors towards showing Oman to the world, Mohammadi feels there is much more than can be done to make the Sultanate a nation par excellence for visitors.

“There are so many places here, such as Wadi Tiwi, Misfah Al Arbaeen, Jabal Akhdar, Wadi Sha’ab, the Wakan Village, Musandam and Salalah that are just not there in other places in the Middle East and we need to be doing more to make these places easy to access for everyone,” he explained.

“I was recently in the North Caucasus Mountains in Georgia for example, and there were so many tourists there because it was easy to access,” added Mohammadi.

“It was easy for them to hire cars, for example, and we don’t have that service here so we need things like that.”


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