“If you have ancient houses, pay attention to them so they can be used as tourist attractions,” His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, on Monday told the citizens.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Second World Conference on Tourism and Culture, HH Sayyid Fahd urged them to coordinate with the Ministry of Tourism to get them renovated as the “ancient houses are part and parcel of our history and cultural heritage.
The conference opened at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre under the auspices of HH Sayyid Fahd. The Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, is hosting the event in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization and the Unesco. HH Sayyid Fahd said the Sultanate has paid much attention to tourism sector since the outset of the blessed Renaissance in response to the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos who stressed on developing tourism and culture. He said the conference will boost tourism and highlight the heritage of the participating countries. Hailing the Omani media, he said it has proved its existence through its “moderate handling”. In his welcome address, Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi said the ministry had formulated the Oman Tourism Strategy 2040 to accelerate the pace of tourism and cultural development through appropriate utilisation of resources on the principles of sustainable development.
“Our main long-term objective is to achieve economic diversification, together with upgrading the direct and indirect contribution of the sector to the GDP, provision of direct and indirect employment opportunities for the national labour force, enhancing government revenues, supporting balance of payments and achieving the highest level of regional development,” he said.
Al Mehrzi said: “We would like to take this opportunity to call for an expanded cooperation and coordination to explore new horizons to achieve sustainable tourism and cultural development in our member states through bilateral and multilateral agreements and protocols, exchanging successful experiences and expertise which benefit our societies in these two vital sectors and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Secretary-General of UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation),
Taleb Rifai, said Oman was an
“example and an inspiration” because it has recognised the potential of tourism to create new opportunities for people and the local communities, He
lauded Oman for including tourism as a pillar of its future vision, ‘Oman 2040’.
Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, Unesco, said the Silk Roads contributed greatly to the common prosperity and development of humankind for almost two millennia, allowing for an incredible exchange of cultures and ideas.
“Muscat itself was a strategic centre of trade and exchange along the historic maritime Silk Road dating back to the 2nd century AD. The Silk Roads project resulted in the creation of a comprehensive Silk Roads Heritage Corridors Tourism Strategy focusing on five countries: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The UNESCO Silk Road Online platform was later developed with the support of Oman,” he said.