Pan-Arab system sought to boost tourism sector

SALALAH, Aug 12 – The participants at the 10th gathering of the Arab Centre for Tourist Media reiterated their resolve to have better cooperation among Arab countries, its media and all the tourism stakeholders to reap maximum benefits out of tourist attractions these countries store for the world. Some 55 media representatives from the Arab countries and members of the Arab Centre for Tourist Media gathered at Salalah Rotana Resort on Sunday and discussed range of issues pertaining to the tourism sector. Among the issues raised during the gathering were internal cooperation and systematic planning for the tourism sector.

An award ceremony titled ‘Tourist Media Oscar 2018’ was also held during the evening session, which was held under the auspices of Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al Rowas, Adviser of His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs. More than 30 media representatives and academics were honoured for their contributions to the tourism sector and works that have paved the way for guidelines for the sector. Marhoon bin Said al Ameri, Director-General of Tourism in Dhofar Governorate, expressed happiness over the gathering of media personalities from the Arab world in Salalah.

“Most of them are very happy with Salalah weather, its heritage and culture. We want more such events in Salalah to let the world know about the destination and come here as tourists. Any system to boost tourism would boost Salalah, as it has huge tourism potential and only a few has been explored,” he said. Dr Anwar Rowas, Chairman of Dhofar University, appreciated the purpose of the gathering, which according to him, is a search for solution to various challenges the tourism sector in the Arab world is facing now.

“And this is an attempt also to push for media support in promoting tourism in the Arab world. The stress is there on cooperation among the planners in the government, private sector operators, society and media. They have to work together to uplift the tourism scenario,” he said. He cited Oman’s example, which has sea, vast land area, mountains and vast desert. The base is there for making tourism a lucrative product in Oman. “The only thing we have to work on is a foolproof system to boost tourism, which can generate jobs and ultimately boost our economy.”

Dr Said El Batouty, Faculty of Economics Goethe University in Germany Economic and Adviser to the UNWTO and Member of the Economic Commission for Europe UNECE, also put stress on the fact that the tourists around the world want to visit Arabia but for some negative publicity, many desist from coming here. “Sometimes such publicity is repetitive, which calls for some counter mechanism. That mechanism can be found in strong cooperation among the Arab countries, particularly their tourism arms and their media partners to popularise Arab culture and its interesting aspects,” he said. Dr El Batouty strongly recommended a pan-Arab system to promote tourism in the region.

Kaushalendra Singh