Oman Downwinder to highlight coastal adventure tourism

Oman Sunday 30/June/2024 18:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman Downwinder to highlight coastal adventure tourism

MUSCAT: Oman’s coastline, stretching 3,165 kilometres of pure marine magic, has long been a magnet for travellers worldwide.

The coastline features an array of enchanting beaches, some bustling with activity and others tucked away behind craggy cliffs, offering a unique charm that seamlessly blends into Oman’s stunning landscape.

In an effort to highlight Oman’s coastline and its offerings for adventure tourism, the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) launched the ‘Oman Downwinder’ initiative on Sunday.

This initiative is part of OMRAN’s ongoing efforts to achieve tourism diversification and its commitment to enhancing the adventure and experience sector. The first edition of Oman Downwinder, featuring participants engaging in kite surfing over a 500km stretch of coastline, will kick off from the beaches of Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate on July 2.

The 12 participants, including a former world kite surfing champion, a physically challenged surfer, and five Omani surfers, will journey north along the coastline, concluding at Ras Al Jinz Reserve in South Sharqiyah Governorate on July 8.

The launch ceremony, held at the W Muscat Hotel, was attended by Dr. Hashil Obaid Al Mahrouqi, CEO of OMRAN Group, Dr. Khamis Salem Al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, and several officials from various entities.

Speaking on the initiative, Al Mahrouqi said, “The Sultanate of Oman is endowed with abundant and diverse natural assets, making it a leading destination for offering unique tourism products and experiences.

Organising these events reflects our belief in the pivotal role that various sports events play in promoting and highlighting our tourism potential to the world, contributing to the growth of the tourism sector and establishing Oman’s position on the international tourism map.”

Al Mahrouqi emphasised that the initiative aligns with OMRAN’s strategic directions aimed at achieving tourism diversification and enhancing the adventure and experiences sector by leveraging unique and diverse natural potentials.

He added, “This event represents a significant opportunity to enhance Oman’s position as a prominent global destination for hosting sports events and adventure activities.”

Marcelo Antunes Ferreira, CEO of Sea and Beach Projects S.P.C, noted that the Oman kite surfing races represent an exceptional experience that will attract many professional and amateur athletes, given the global expansion of this sport.

“The event will highlight many of Oman’s tourist attractions through accompanying media coverage,” he said. Among the Omani surfers taking part are Barakat Al Kindi, Azzan Al Sinani, and Majid Jamal Al Kharusi.

Notable international participants include Dutch professional Ruben Lenten, who won the Red Bull race in 2005, British surfing champion Hannah Whiteley, surfing coach Mitu Monteiro, and Fernando Fernandez, and an innovative athlete in inclusive sports for people with disabilities.

The event, organised in cooperation with Oman Sail, the national travel operator Visit Oman, and the Oman Adventure Center, is expected to play a significant role in enhancing local content through the participation of several local institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Participants will encounter towering cliffs and vibrant waters, creating the perfect setting for kite surfing. The surfers will experience the thrill of the wild sea amid the rhythmic music of the waves.

In her remarks to Times of Oman, Hannah Whiteley said, “This is my second visit and in the past I had a wonderful experience in Oman.”

A professional kite surfing world champion now involved with content creation and promoting surfing globally, she added, “In 2017, it was a good setting for surfing and I am now looking forward to exploring more this time.

The Downwinder will be a nice effort to promote some good spots in Oman for surfing as a lot of people travel for kite surfing.” Hannah expressed her enthusiasm for the event, and said, “The number of participants is good and it will be nice to have a group of kite surfers doing activities together. I hope this event can be organised annually to promote Oman as a destination.”