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Omran announces new diving centre in Oman
July 4, 2018 | 8:30 PM
by Times News Service
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: Supplied
 
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Muscat: A new dive centre is set to open in Musandam as part of a partnership between Omran and Freestyle Divers Oman.

Hafidh Al Hadhrami, Omran’s Asset Manager for Asset and Fund Management, said the project is expected to boost Atana Musandam’s standing as a top-notch hotel.

“This exciting partnership supports Omran’s Local Development Investment strategy to position Atana Musandam as one of the leading hotel destinations in the Sultanate, as well as encourage partnerships with Omani-based companies,” he said.

Hafidh Al Hadhrami (OMRAN) Left and Bader Al Shahi (Freestyle Divers) Right. Photo: supplied


“Musandam is blessed with an abundance of marine life, and the new dive centre will not only add additional leisure activities to the hotel’s offering, but encourage awareness of marine life conservation.”

Opening



The dive centre is set to open in September 2018 and will accept guest reservations for packages that focus on underwater photography, discovery and exploration of new sites, as well as marine conservation and biology.

Bader Al Shahi, co-founder of Freestyle Divers Oman, praised Musandam as an excellent

diving site.

Pristine reefs

“Musandam offers a huge opportunity to discover new diving sites, having retained its wild and untamed nature,” said Al Shahi. “We have pristine reefs with amazingly diverse marine life, from tiny critters up to large animals such as whales, dolphins and sharks. We even spotted orcas this year! All of that against a backdrop of amazing fjords, beautiful cliffs, and warm water.”

Located at the northern tip of the Musandam peninsula, Atana Musandam is one of two Omani hotel brands in Musandam that provide a blend of traditional and contemporary cultures. Across the Sultanate, Omran owns a portfolio of 18 hotels that collectively deliver unmatched hospitality to both local and international visitors.

Managed by Omran, Atana Musandam continues to expand its hotel offerings by adding a dive centre that is set to capture the attention of water sports and scuba diving enthusiasts in the region.

The centre will offer a comprehensive array of beginner and professional courses, including recreational diving suitable for the whole family, as well as technical diving involving diving beyond 40 metres using mixed gases.

Barbara Alessi of Extra Divers Oman said Oman has great diving spots because of its location.

“The water in Oman is not that clear, but that is actually a good thing because the water here is nutrient-rich, and this means it is always full of fish,” she told Times of Oman. “From the small fish to bigger cetaceans and pelagic fish, every type of fish can be seen in the Omani waters. Also, Oman’s waters are very good for diving all year round.”

“In the winter and during holidays such as Christmas and Easter, we get a lot of European tourists, but we are also busy during the traditional Islamic holidays because that is when we get a lot of Arab visitors,” added Alessi, who also noted that Oman’s location meant it was one of only two prime diving spots in the Middle East.

“Saudi Arabia is also very good for diving because it has a shore on the Red Sea, so you get a good experience there, but the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar unfortunately don’t have good diving centres because they face the Arabian Gulf and there is not much marine life there,” she added. “Oman faces the open Arabian Sea and this is why it is so good.”

She also stressed the need for more marine conservation efforts to ensure long-term sustainability of Oman’s marine tourism initiatives.

“The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Tourism need to set up marine conservation and protection areas, because that has not been done yet, despite the diving industry in Oman having been established for some time now,” explained Alessi. “If the animals are not protected, it could be dangerous for them, and they are one of the main reasons divers come to Oman.”

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