Muscat: As more and more people flock to Oman to enjoy adventure tourism, emergency services have issued guidelines for those who want to venture off the beaten track to explore all that the Sultanate has to offer.
As part of its efforts to ramp up its tourism offering to the world, adventure tourism has drawn ever growing numbers to Oman.
Tourism has been earmarked as one of the five pillars of the Sultanate’s Tanfeedh programme for economic diversification, with a view to increase the revenue the nation receives from non-oil sources of revenue and provide a safe and sustainable future for its citizens.
29 annual events have been earmarked under Tanfeedh, with a view to stimulate tourism across the country. These include hot air ballooning to get a bird’s-eye view of the Sultanate’s natural beauty, cave exploration and mountaineering events to explore the country’s rugged terrain, and trekking opportunities to experience Oman’s varied landscape.
In addition, the Sharqiyah and Musandam regions’ landscapes mean they will be used to showcase the outdoor adventure experiences the country has to offer.
And as an increasing number of people head into the wild in Oman and the Sultanate’s reputation spreads as a world-class tourism destination, the country’s emergency services are always on hand to ensure that those who do require aid are always able to receive it on time and effectively.
An official from Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) spoke to Times of Oman regarding the importance of being prepared asking for help when in need.
“There is absolutely no shame in calling for help and the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance will always answer your plea. If you are able to get out of the situation on your own without being harmed then there is no issue with trying help yourself. However, if the situation is dangerous then you should wait for rescue.
“If the adventurer calls for rescue and his or her location has been identified, the adventurer should not move or else the location might get lost again,” the official said.
Hundreds of people from inside Oman, as well as tourists, go on adventure activities for fun, or to challenge themselves, and a small amount of them do pick up injuries or get stuck during their trips. However, according to data released by PACDA, out of a large number of mountain hikers, only 12 needed rescuing during the first half of 2019 as a result of their injuries or after being stranded.
Furthermore, PACDA also announced that three people lost their lives during their outdoor activities.
The official revealed that not all cases are the same but most can be prevented with prior preparation or by having others along with you.
“The most common cases involve people getting lost, falling from a high point, getting too exhausted to continue, losing their way due to weather conditions, entering areas alone and being unable to leave, and getting trapped because they were unable to use the tools well enough,” he said. “The phenomenon of accidents occurring during adventures and on mountain paths has been increasing year on year.”
According to the official, It is critical for the person who is about to go on an adventure to inform others before leaving. The official said: “Among our recommendations for adventurers is to inform people who know the area well about your decision to go on an adventure and where you are going before you enter any track in Oman. “You should also have a plan put in place about how you can get word to emergency services in case anything goes wrong,” he added.
Riyadh Al Hinai, an adventurer in Oman, has said that Oman is becoming an ever-increasing adventure spot in the region and that tourists and locals alike are travelling to wadis, sprawling deserts and deep caverns in search of a challenge.
Al Hinai told Times of Oman: “In the past period there has been a very large shift of direction towards adventure for all age groups and nationalities. The increase is very positive and allows every person to go out and share their adventures via social media, which encourages even more people to take part.
“I really think that trend will continue to increase and lead to the creation of more Omani tourism companies geared towards adventure,” he added.