Adventure Oman

The allure of adventure lies in its power to create unusual experiences. It’s not about physical risks alone; even opening oneself up to newer perceptions too could be adventurous. Cognitive adventures are thrilling as even a small shift in intellection can unravel newer layers of existential beauty.
Composing a highly nuanced song, painting an abstract version of an earthworm, or conversing with a totally boring stranger can all be considered adventurous, in a way. But I’m unsure if living the life of one’s dreams is the biggest adventure one can take — as Oprah Winfrey claims. Even office politics is a risky adventure, indulged in by hapless yet wily people whose lives have become unadventurous otherwise.
Undoubtedly, the most fulfilling adventure is tourism. Why on earth would one seek a destination if it were not for the irresistible adventure element involved in the tryst with the unknown — culturally and geographically? And it’s this adventure element that gets amplified in adventure tourism. The global adventure tourism market is valued at $450 billion, and is expected to touch $1,335.740 billion by 2023.
That’s great news for the Sultanate. Isn’t it the charm of the diverse, unique, authentic and enriching experiences with a high adventure quotient that draws a growing number of tourists towards it? Numbers vouch for the excitement: nearly 3.2 million visitors arrived in the Sultanate last year, and tourist arrivals are expected to rise at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5 per cent during 2018-2023 to reach 3.5 million. The government’s 2040 Tourism Strategy aims to attract 11 million tourists by 2040. Further, tourism’s contribution to Oman’s GDP is forecast to increase from 2.6 per cent in 2017 to 6 per cent by 2040.
Adventure has always been a defining aspect of the Sultanate’s history and culture, starting with Sindbad, the legendary sailor. We can have a glimpse of that ancient seafaring adventure at the boat-building yards of Sur. The Sultanate offers the region’s most challenging natural adventurous spots including the mysterious Rub al Khali and other rolling deserts, majestic mountains, amazing wadis and exhilarating marine environments, as also several archaeological sites complete with caves and fossil remains.
An altogether different adventurous experience awaits visitors in its ancient villages such as Misfat Al Abriyeen in Hamra where time seems to be frozen amid centuries-old adobe houses and lush vegetation nurtured by traditional irrigation systems.
It’s but natural that adventure tourism features high on the priority list of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism. It has been strongly promoting the Sultanate as the choicest destination for extreme sports, trekking, caving, canyoning, via ferrata, desert adventures and hot-air ballooning at the global level. The ministry has created an enabling environment for adventure tourism companies to successfully operate in the Sultanate, and is working on streamlining the sector with proper regulations and policies.
The thrust of the ministry’s adventure tourism drive is on four carefully selected major projects designed in collaboration with private players: Oman X, Hot-Air Ballooning, Majlis al Jinn and Adventure Musandam. All adventure activities will be licensed and implemented through a competent consultant specially appointed to boost the sector.