Micro tourism focuses on those seemingly little things that hold high significance at multiple levels, and offers a nourishing experience for visitors and props up the local tourism industry itself. It’s simple: every community has a wealth of resources that are bequeathed down generations, such as places that are yet to be explored, heritage and culture, arts and crafts, and unique ways of living in total harmony with nature. And, micro tourism represents all of that.
The world has now woken up to its terrific potential, and is even described as ‘Community Gold’. What the stakeholders in the tourism industry are tasked with is to discover the enormous hidden potential of micro tourism in various communities. And this means, identifying and popularising those myriad micro aspects that are usually left out in the regular commercial discourses on tourism.
The greatest advantage of micro tourism is that it can attract and retain visitors for longer time. And the possibilities are many: from traditional crafts, farming methods, relics of history, local produce and markets, and natural wonders to local cuisine, unexplored spots of natural beauty, flora and fauna, forests, deserts and beaches, micro tourism is only constrained by the constraints of our imagination and innovative thinking.
Equally impressive is the positive economic benefits that accrue to local communities. It also helps preserve, nurture and promote traditional know-hows, craftsmanship and ways of life that are highly sustainable and holistic. Micro tourism means diverse experiences, for every community is uniquely different as far as people, culture and heritage, history, climate, resources and environment are concerned. And as such, visitors get to enrich their tourism experience in ways previously unimagined.
It’s anybody’s guess that the Sultanate — with its amazing diversity and scale of culture, heritage, historical relics and geography — promises to be one of the best destinations to experience micro tourism in all its glory.
And, Oman is proud to have the first micro tourism project of its kind in the entire Middle East. Named Zaree, and launched by Omran — the master developer of Oman’s tourism, heritage and urban projects, the innovative initiative is an income-generating, all-woman micro tourism business located in Khasab, aimed at their empowerment and giving tourists fulfilling experiences that are genuinely Omani. Zaree allows tourists to try on traditional hand-made Omani garments, participate in henna paintings, taste amazing local cuisines and learn some common Arabic phrases.
According to Omran, the project combines training and real life experiences that empower Omani womenfolk to be entrepreneurs in the tourism sector, and generate job opportunities for local women. At the other end, visitors are offered a powerful platform that helps bridge cultures and enhance exchange of cultural experiences.
The emergence of a network of such innovative micro tourism projects spread across the Sultanate is sure to boost Oman’s appeal as a choice travel destination that promises value-added virgin tourism experiences.
T V SARNGA DHARAN NAMBIAR