Muscat: If you’re planning on exploring Muscat during the cooler months of the year, you might want to try getting around town on an electric bike.
Introduced for the first time in the Sultanate, local travel agent TravelPoint has partnered with two Omani entrepreneurs to import these three-wheeled scooters, colloquially called trikes, from the United States, with three routes mapped out for tourists and residents, who wish to take in the charm and culture of Oman, at their own pace.
Imported into Oman by Abdullah Al Balushi and Ahmed Al Harrathi, TravelPoint began promoting these trikes in May 2017, with the aim of building up to Oman’s traditional tourism season, which begins around September and October. While the Adventure Tour, which is proving to be the most popular so far, takes visitors across the Muttrah Souq, to the overlook above Riyam Park and into old Muscat, the Excursion Tour is slightly shorter, and takes tourists to Muttrah Souq, Muttrah Castle, the overlook and back.
A Fun Tour has also been launched by TravelPoint, and this takes visitors on a ride to the Grand Hyatt hotel and across Shatti beach and Love Street, before finishing at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
“People usually see the Corniche and the souq, but with these trikes, you can see the old houses and go up the mountains and enjoy a really panoramic view,” said Sunil Prabhakar, chief executive officer for TravelPoint.
“The bikes were here in Oman, so we thought, why not include these in our excursions? These bikes can run for about four to five hours at a time.
“May is normally the month for travel agents looking to book holidays to Oman to launch new products,” he added. “This is when they make new brochures and update their websites, so by the beginning of the tourism season, we have everything in place. These bikes are proving to be popular for short excursions, especially for tourists who come here on cruise ships. We have also begun including this as part of our Muscat city tour.”
With the tourism season having only just begun, TravelPoint are confident that the bikes will gain popularity among visitors to the Sultanate.
“We’ve had some people ride these bikes so far, and we have had plenty of enquiries for them,” revealed Prabhakar. “This is something new, and it is those who are more adventurous who are looking to take it forward. We are still pushing this as much as we can to make it successful, and most of our enquiries have come from European and American visitors to Oman.
The response, so far, has been really positive, and Prabhakar is sure this will also help spread the popularity of the trikes.
“The people who have gone on these electric bike tours are very happy, and so far, we’ve had an amazing response,” he said. “They really love this. If you go to Europe, these facilities exist, but in Oman, this is quite unique, so they will be happy to discover the other side of Muttrah, not just the souq. The tour across Muttrah seems to be the most popular, as does the excursion from Muttrah souq to the fort, and Riyam Park,”
“The latter tour takes two hours, it takes you to the Riyam overlook which has some really great views, and then you go to old Muscat, to the national museum and the area around Al Alam Palace,” added Prabhakar. “I invite all residents and tourists to come and check out a different side of Muscat.”