Connections, the international private community for senior executives in high-end travel, recently hosted a three-day meeting titled ‘Connections Oman’ in Muscat.
The event also highlighted the Sultanate of Oman as a luxury eco-destination in a region of opulence, celebrating its rich culture and ancient history. Its successful hosting helped create new business opportunities for luxury travel buyers and luxury travel suppliers.
The event saw luxury buyer members meet with exceptional hotels, boutique properties, experience providers and destination management companies.
Haitham Mohammed al Ghassani, Director General of Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, who addressed the gathering sought to strengthen partnership with Connections to attract the most prominent tourism companies specialised in luxury leisure and adventure tourism.
He said one of their prime objectives as a tourist board is to establish the Sultanate of Oman as the luxury eco-destination as they plan to adopt a two pronged strategy which will guarantee the quality of the services. “The government has already started to invest and build initiatives to meet these targets and upgrade the goal of eco-tourism,” he added.
He also mentioned that this will develop a long-lasting tourism competitiveness and contribute to the protection of the natural environment and guarantee the use of natural resources efficiently by implementing a system of well-maintained or managed protected areas.
“This will position the Sultanate of Oman as a cultural tourism destination with experiences, products and events that integrate the local culture at different levels that render authenticity,” he added.
Al Ghassani further said the trends or motivations of travellers have changed considerably after Covid-19. “People are more concerned about safety, protocols and ease of travel. Everybody is looking for something special in terms of experiences,” he said.
He also announced that Muscat will host the ‘Global Travel Week Middle East,’ powered by Connections Oman, from March 27-30, 2022.
Asma al Hajry, Deputy Director General of Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, said the “quality of luxury buyers (at Connections Oman) is very high. We hope that this will position the country as a luxury travel destination.”
Ahmed al Balushi, Senior Sales and Events Officer, Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), said the event is an important platform that offers access to luxury travellers, for whom a visit to the Opera House would be an exciting and enlightening experience.”
Alongside business meetings, delegates also took part in an educational programme in which Maitha al Mahrouqi, Under-Secretary for Tourism, Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, discussed the future of luxury travel in the Middle East with Clive Jacobs, Jacobs Media Group Chairman.
Maitha said: “The Sultanate of Oman is making its return as a luxury travel destination to worldwide visitors, and we are delighted in hosting ‘Connections Oman’ to help continue the process of recovery and resurgence. We have seen how successful the Connections Way of doing business is in helping forge long-term business relationships, and it is crucial we provide valuable opportunities for tourism to help drive investment back into the region.”
Nadhira al Harthy as a special guest shared her inspiring story as the first Omani woman to have successfully climbed Mount Everest at the dedicated ConnecTalks seminar.
Micaela Giacobbe, founder and managing director of Connections, said they were happy to be working with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism to deliver the first Connections event in Muscat. “This edition has received outstanding interest from our luxury buyer community, and we are looking forward to showcasing the best of Sultanate of Oman to our invited agencies to help expand their product and experience portfolios,” she added.
The event was supported by Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, AFAQ Travel and Tourism, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, W Muscat, Bait Al Zubair Museum and Royal Opera House Muscat.
Connections Oman was run in partnership with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and showcased the destination’s finest luxury product to 30 selected global travel buyers. Connections has hosted over 50 global events since its inception in 2014, giving decision-makers the opportunity to meet through memorable experiences and educational debates.
Photos by Omar al Farsi