Oman tourism: Vehicle advertisement sparks controversy in social media

Oman Sunday 12/June/2016 12:24 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman tourism: Vehicle advertisement sparks controversy in social media

Hasan Shaban Al Lawati
Muscat: Social media users in Oman have urged a recreational vehicles company to pull a Twitter ad which criticised tourism facilities in Dhofar governorate.

The video ad, uploaded on Saturday, has been deemed "inappropriate" and "insulting" by many activists in the Sultanate.

During the 30 second cartoon video, an Omani kid asks his dad to take the family to Salalah for the monsoon season. His dad tells him: "Khareef Salalah season can't be missed! But the accommodation is expensive, limited food choices on the way and the toilets are a tragedy..."

Later in the advertisement, the dad promotes Oman MotorHomes company for its trailer homes.

Some Twitter users said that the ad has simply "spoken the truth".

The Ministry for Tourism (MoT) failed to see the funny side of the advert, and took to Twitter to comment on the ad in a series of tweets "to clarify it for the audience".

"33 hotels and apartment hotels serviced guests at a price range from OMR 25 to OMR 45 during Salalah monsoon season," MoT said in a tweet.

It added that Salalah hosted more than 540,000 tourist last year during the season.

"There are several eateries on the way to Salalah in petrol stations" and "washrooms are available at all tourism attractions in Dhofar" were another two of the messages delivered by the ministry, which announced the launch of 20 self-cleaning toilets in different locations of the wilayat.

When contacted, an official at the ministry told the Times of Oman that they are communicating with the company to discuss a "better approach" in tourism marketing.

He said the ministry supports small and medium enterprises in the Sultanate and "wishes the people behind the company all the best".

"We hope that advertisements reflect a positive side of the ministry's efforts in developing tourism in Dhofar so people don't misunderstand the message behind them," the spokesman concluded.

The company replied on its Twitter account, saying that the ad does not offend Salalah, and that it just displays the "annoying experiences" that face tourists during their stay there.

"The company was established to enhance tourists experience in Oman," Oman MotorHomes said.