Friday, March 24, 2023 | Ramadan 1, 1444 H
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How can art promote tourism?


Visiting many commercial establishments today is like visiting an art exhibit without really knowing it.

For instance, if you visit a mall or a hotel, walls are usually decorated with giant works of art, a way for these commercial centres to enhance the retail and customer experience.

One of the main goals of shopping arenas is to increase the number of shoppers and to accomplish this, they had been making extra effort to engage and provide a memorable experience to their target audience.

Indeed, a new mode of tourism called ‘Creatourus’ — the acronym of ‘creative tourism’ is making waves across the world and the Sultanate is not behind in catching up with the momentum.

Several efforts are currently taking place at several shopping malls and hotels aiming at creating sustainable and authentic tourism assets, lifestyle communities and destinations that drive economic growth and contribute to the diversification of the economy.

The ultimate beneficiaries are the local SME’s as well as artists from across the country as well as startups and other innovative national youths.

To begin with, the OMRAN Group, the executive arm of the Sultanate for tourism development has launched the ‘Creatourism’ Programme which aimed at introducing creative initiatives in the Group’s projects and hotels and to promote art, culture and heritage in various development projects of the Group.

The programme aims to support and encourage aspiring Omani artists and entrepreneurs specialised in the field of arts management to showcase their talents by getting involved in creative initiatives and a competition among local artists is designed to manage the art space at InterContinental Hotel, Muscat.

“This space for local artists and artworks by these artists is part of our unfaltering commitment to enhancing the tourism sector in the Sultanate’’, said Hashil bin Obaid al Mahrouqi, CEO of OMRAN Group.

“The project called ‘Creatourism’ is a unique programme that will bring together creative minds from all over the country, and we, in turn, will ensure that they are given ample opportunities to showcase their talents and contribute effectively to the tourism sector.”

Promoting tourism and enhancing the overall experience has always been one of the important areas of focus for the country.

Mall of Oman, the landmark shopping experience and the newest addition to Oman’s retail scenario has contracted 13 artists and the food court was given as the canvas. A few weeks later, the walls were adorned with mammoth abstract images of food and other gastronomic-themed paintings in various shapes and sizes that capture the sight of any passer-by.

“With the global pandemic restrictions and the convenience of E-commerce portals, shopping malls are slowly witnessing a fall in the number of visitors. Providing the mall audience with an exclusive attraction might encourage them to visit more often and they might get their friends and family along’’, said Kethki Ambekar, Director, Art & Soul Gallery at the Waterfront Mall which displays an array of local artists.

He feels that malls can transform their space by introducing the concept of an open Art Gallery exhibiting paintings and sculptures or Artist handmade souvenirs and sometimes, the Art on display can remain etched in the minds of the visitors.

“We are looking out for Omani SMEs, start-ups, jewellery making and the like to take part in our mall promotion which will also have their artefacts and creative works displayed along the corridors of our mall’’, says Tanu Bheda, Business Development Strategist.

“Although every single commercial outlet is into art and paintings and other stuff being displayed, we want to give it a new dimension and concluded that supporting SME’s is the best thing that we can do during a time like this. After all, we are truly inspired by Oman’s beauty, peace and hospitality’’, she adds.

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