Success at Oman's first beach carnival lays plans for more editions
March 14, 2019 | 11:52 AM
by Times News Service
Photo - @OmanTourism

Muscat: More carnivals can be expected in Oman in the future after the success of the Sultanate's first beach carnival.

Sur Al Hadid Beach Carnival drew more than 50,000 visitors for three days from 7 to 9 March, 2019, and gathered wide praise from visitors, according to The Ministry of Tourism and Hilal Al Sarmi, Shura Council Member representing Al Seeb.

“I would like to see one of these carnivals once every two months,” Al Sarmi said. “I have spoken to Omran, and suggested that we should repeat it every two months while changing the focus of the carnival, say from foods to sweets and then to heritage and on. Each edition will have something different, but all will be aimed towards SMEs.”

Zaher al Riyami, General Director for planning at the Ministry of Tourism, agreed. “This is the start,” he told Times of Oman. “We will begin to evaluate the situation and place plans for other, similar events and spread them across all governorates in the Sultanate.”

According to him, “To date, we have not yet decided on when and where the next carnival might take place. This will be done after we evaluate this past carnival from a technical and administrative standpoint, after which we will coordinate with tourism partners about organising these carnivals.”

Both the Shura Council member and the ministry believed that the carnival was a success.

Al Riyami said, “The responses from Sur Al Hadid carnival were 90 per cent positive, which is a good indicator of success for such events to continue.”

“The carnival was more than wonderful,” Al Sarmi told Times of Oman. “I was attracted most to the number of SMEs that had participated in the project, as well as outside projects. The general idea was to create a number of days specifically for different entertainment forms and foods, just like the food festival, Muscat Eat. The festival also showcased producing families and the Omani Women’s Association.

“I spoke to multiple SMEs at the carnival and they said they saw a boost in sales and recognition because of this carnival,” he added. “Especially because having booths at the carnival was inexpensive. Even if the sales weren’t high, this still counts as an excellent marketing opportunity.”

The booths were inexpensive because of the Ministry of Tourism’s approach to the carnivals. Al Riyami said, “The Ministry doesn’t seek to make a profit out of these carnivals. This is a method to boost local tourism and provide a pleasant environment for families.”

The carnival was created as an experiment to see how continuous carnivals would be received, especially when spread across the Sultanate.

“The original idea was for it to be a full-year, continuous attraction at Al Seeb Beach,” Al Sarmi said. “We had groups that were interested in that sort of project, and we were going to call it ‘Al Shatti Al Mithali’ (The Perfect Beach in Arabic). However, because of some difficulties, it was decided that we would try out the carnival first for three days as an experiment.

“Now that it has worked, we hope to see these kinds of carnivals all over Oman, but we’d like it to be organised in such a way that you don’t have multiple carnivals at the same time,” he added.

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