Desert expedition to promote tourism, culture ends

Muscat, Dec 4 – The Hida al Sahraa caravan has completed its expedition crisscrossing Rimal Al Sharqiya to promote domestic tourism. The caravan was organised by Camel World or Alam Al Hajn magazine, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and other organisations. It saw participation from more than 40 youths from different Arab nations. The voyage, which continued for four consecutive days, carried tourism, environmental and cultural messages. In its third edition, the caravan tried to revive legacy of Omani heritage, introduce participants and their followers on the social networking platforms about deserts, tourism and culture in the Sultanate.
According to Ahmed al Bahri, a researcher in the Ministry of Tourism, the caravan was organised as part of the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism to highlight the adventures of desert. It coincided with the winter tourist season as well as with the desert adventure tourism.
The caravan activities also included ‘cultural heritage evenings’ that focused on art, customs and traditions, and values of Omanis who lived in the deserts.
The caravan distributed books and publications promoting cultural heritage and tourism of Oman. It also provided an opportunity to tourists to experience camel rides.
Ahmed bin Nasser al Junaibi, a patron of the caravan, said the initiative attracted many youth, particularly those with a strong social media presence.
This year, the initiative used important promotional tools for Rimal Al Sharqiya. Those who participated in the caravan were blogging everyday on social platforms about their daily activities.
Al Junaibi said a number of competitions were organised in this edition of the caravan. The caravan was divided into four teams, which played their role in raising awareness and promoting domestic tourism.
The caravan also interacted with tourists, while camps contributed to the promotions.
Four Omani travellers shared their travel experiences. They are: Mohammad al Zadjali, Hamir al Wuhaibi, Ahmad al Mahrouqi and Hamoud al Nahdi.
Ghazi al Mutairi was one of the Saudi nationals who participated in the caravan. A young social media activist, he said he had heard about the beauty of Rimal Al Sharqiya and the desert life. Al Mutairi said he always wanted to visit the Sultanate and his “dream had come true”. Al Mutairi said his journey, which began in Muscat, ended in the Rimal Al Sharqiya.
He said Muscat was “more beautiful, developed and most modern city” he had ever seen. He saw all its landmarks including Sultan Qaboos University, Grand Mosque and Muttrah.
He said many places that he visited in Muscat were on par with the best in the world. He termed Muscat International Airport a “masterpiece of modern architecture” which shows the Sultanate’s progress and development.
“Al Sharqiyah Governorate is the original and most beautiful legacy of the Sultanate and the Arabian Peninsula as a whole,” he said. Dhofar Governorate is his next destination during summer, as he wants to experience the Khareef season there.
Abdul Qadir al Shahrani said he was waiting to return to Saudi Arabia to share his tales of adventure. The pictures of caravan, which chronicled the journey through Rimal Al Sharqiya, will tell his story on social media.
He said he will come back to Rimal Al Sharqiya soon as it is closer to his home.
He will again try to cross the desert and explore its magic during dawn and dusk.
Ahmed al Mahrouqi, another traveller, said this was the third year he was taking part in the caravan.
Omani Holding Company of Environmental Services (Be’ah) is one of the prominent government organisations that supported the caravan. Husain al Nabhani, media in-charge of Be’ah, said: “We wanted to urge the youth to manage these places and be role models for tourists.”