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Visit the international pavilion at Muscat Festival
January 30, 2018 | 7:15 PM
by Maqsood Maniyar
 
Sharelines

The international pavilion has been set up at the Muscat Festival after a gap of three years. Stalls representing Pakistan, the United States, Nepal, and Algeria have been set up at the Amerat venue. All the stalls are being run by the respective embassies of the nations, with the exception of the Pakistan booth, which is being run by the Pakistan Social Club (PSC) though PSC members said that it had the support of Pakistan Embassy.

People at the stall representing all four countries said they hoped to showcase their culture before the Omanis and residents.

Pakistan

PSC Director Aftab Geelani noted that the Pakistani stall was mainly about promoting tourism in his home country, besides showcasing the diverse cultures of Pakistan. He emphasised that most non-Pakistanis were unaware of the many beautiful places in the South Asian nation, especially Gligit Baltistan on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhthunwa. Pictures displaying the scenic beauty of these provinces adorned the walls of the stall. Baltoro glacier and Hunza valley in Gilgit, Hingol and Ziarat valley in Balochistan, besides Jamarud and Chitral forts in Khyber Pakhtunwa, among others, were cited as places worth visiting in Pakistan.



“People don’t know about these beautiful places. We have to make them aware and that’s what this stall aims to do. We would like Omanis to consider Pakistan for their next holiday overseas. It’s not just the beauty of these places but also the proximity,” Geelani added.

He also spoke at length about the items that were on display – traditional dresses, scented candles, and wooden boxes —to name a few.

Pakistani artists also performed dances inside the international pavilion.

United States of America

The United States’ stall includes a desk that dispenses information on how one may obtain various visas to the country, including for tourism and academics.

Michelle Outlaw, public affairs officer at the American Embassy, remarked that they were delighted to have the opportunity to set up a stall in the international pavilion. “We certainly enjoy participating in the cultural events in Oman, and we feel fortunate to be in this wonderful country,” she added.

Outlaw stated the stall gave Americans a chance to interact with locals and vice versa.

“It is like killing two birds with one stone, I’d say. First, we get to be part of the festival and the local culture. We get to learn more about Oman.

“Secondly, we get to share a piece of America with the locals. We can introduce people to opportunities to study in America or even visit our country for leisure. We certainly encourage people to travel to America,” she declared.

There is a large map of the United States at the stall and beside it are cards with the names of the cities in the country. Children can be seen trying to locate the cities mentioned on the cards. The exercise is meant to make people, especially children, aware of the geography of the United States, Outlaw added.

Algeria

The Algerian stall displayed traditional dresses, artefacts and photographs of notable persons in the history of the country, among other adornments. Boudjemia Atmane, in-charge of consular services at the Algerian Embassy, said the stall was a good opportunity to showcase the rich culture of Algeria.

“The Algerian community and volunteers have done well in setting up the stall. Few people realise how diverse Algeria is. We have mountainous terrain, a beautiful coastline, and vast deserts. In the winter, we have snow on the mountains. One can even pay a visit to the deserts between November and May. Our country’s deserts are protected by international law, for their bio-diversity,” he said.

Hayat, a volunteer at the stall noted that manning the stall had been a great experience.

Nepal

Nepal is participating in the international pavilion at the Muscat Festival for the first time. Videos promoting tourism in Nepal play on a TV screen as people look at the various artefacts that are displayed at the stall. People were seen expressing a keen interest in tourism to the Himalayan nation. Nepali artists performed folk dances, and embassy officials educated people on their home country. — [email protected]



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