Here is how Omani guides are giving adventure tourism a boost
February 10, 2018 | 9:50 PM
by Sheikha Al Maqhousi / [email protected]
There are many adventure activity spots in the Sultanate including deserts, caves, hiking trails and beaches, many of them pristine and unexplored. Photos – Supplied

Muscat: With its diverse geographical features, including canyons, mountains and caves, Oman is a suitable place to develop adventure tourism.

Now, teams and firms have started working towards meeting international safety standards required in the adventure tourism field and are promoting adventure activities by training young people from local mountainous areas, as they have already experienced the place.

“Many Omani youth teams have emerged recently in the field of adventure tourism. They are trained, skilled and enthusiastic about adventure. A women’s team to organise adventure trips only for women was also set up recently,” Hassan Al Lawati, CEO of Rove, said.

“Our goal is to promote tourism in Oman, especially in unknown and hidden places. We are a part of an ecosystem with a responsibility to promote adventure tourism in Oman. We also seek to spread the culture of outdoor activities among society and tourists,” Al Lawati added. “We make sure of participants’ safety and readiness, and during the trip, they must follow the leader and keep to the group. Sometimes, participants are not fit but we try to help them finish the adventure,” he said.

There are many adventure activity spots in the Sultanate including deserts, caves, hiking trails and beaches, many of them pristine and unexplored. Photos – Supplied

“Instructors and tour guides who work with us are certified and have experience in the fields of rescue, canyoneering, and climbing and keeping, in addition to first aid. We also collaborate with locals from towns or villages that we visit. We seek their support for transportation, guidance, and providing historical and cultural information to our customers,” Al Lawati explained.

“All guides and trainers whom we deal with are Omanis. We plan to train more young people in this field, especially people from the mountain areas, because they have the experience and knowledge of the ways and the place,” he added.

“The Ministry of Tourism has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Zealand government to develop this sector, especially in the field of risk management. Starting from 2019, more international standards will be followed to get a licence to operate an adventure tourism company,” Al Lawati noted.

These standards will include, but not be limited to, the presence of certified guides and a comprehensive awareness and safety system. Meanwhile, a local guide, 22-year-old Mohammed Al Shuriqi, said: “Some companies contact me to guide them in Aljabal Al Akhdar. Through tours, I have gained good experience in this field. I deal with adventurers from different nationalities. I have developed my language and have learned how to lead a group of participants.”

He added: “Of course, people from the mountains do not need to develop their skills. They have acquired them by living in the mountains, but I need training and a certificate for safety and risk management as I want to be a professional guide.”

Talking about Aljabal Al Akhdar, Al Shuriqi said: There are many caves in Jabal Akhdar, such as a 600 metre Amer Cave, which is the largest in terms of distance. Then, there are many mountain paths where visitors can hike.”

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