Tourism tweets earn Omani youth meet with minister

Oman Sunday 06/August/2017 21:32 PM
By: Times News Service
Tourism tweets earn Omani youth meet with minister

Muscat: Social media erupted on Friday when a string of tweets by Omani local Al Mutasim Al Maamari led to a call from the Minister of Tourism Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad Al Mehrzi.
In an interview with the Times of Oman, Al Maamari said that after he tweeted constructive criticism to the Ministry of Tourism, they surprised social media by responding to him and setting up a call from the minister.
Al Maamari said, “We (he and the minister) agreed on an urgent meeting with experts at the Ministry to talk about Khareef Salalah’s tourism in detail, as transparently as we could.”
Late on Friday, Al Maamari tweeted at the Ministry of Tourism, starting, “Personally, I find the infrastructure in Dhofar wonderful and its accomplishments great.. (but)”
He proceeded to send 10 tweets, suggesting spots for climbing cables in the mountains, telefreaks, and even small paddleboat zones, among other suggestions.
The ninth tweet said, “Every time we visit Salalah, we get this feeling deep inside. It’s a mixture of awe at all the beauty, and disappointment at the lack of creative activities.”
“I visited it,” he told Times of Oman about Salalah, “and I honestly thought to myself that its beauty was more amazing than anything I saw in the other 28 countries I’ve visited. It made me sad that this potential wasn’t being put to better use.”
Over the weekend, the Ministry sent replies to him, discussing some of the proposals.
“Even though it wasn’t a work day, they spent many hours responding,” Al Maamari said, “and within 24 hours, I got a phone call from the Minister.”
He added, “H.E said he was happy with the attention the tweets got from the youth in Oman, and that he hoped that we continue to give constructive criticism.”
This is not the first time Al Maamari has reached out to the ministry.
“In 2014, I and my teammates formed a team ‘Wallah Nistahel’ (an educational YouTube channel) and made a YouTube video about local tourism. We used indices and data to show how promising the sector is. We were invited by the MoT to collaborate in making a YouTube show about Omani tourism. Sadly, that’s when oil prices crashed and our budget was cut.”
The Ministry has not released official statements on the matter, but has retweeted third-party statements and has sent out its own responses, agreeing with some proposals and explaining why others were not feasible.