Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands inspired her as a child. Sandra Cahill was able to relate parts of the British explorer’s stories on Empty Quarter to her own and the book was destined to change her life forever.
World cultures, deserts, Bedouins, traditions, nomadic life, attracted this Australian woman from an early age. Sandra was curious about the Arab world and how people lived in such harsh conditions. After reading ‘Arabian Sands’, she knew that one day would venture to Oman and possibly the Rub al Khali to experience its uniqueness.
Sandra loved telling anyone who was curious or would listen as to why Oman was her favourite destination.
She first visited in 2003 and was able to promote Oman in Australia but more so as a Sales Manager representing the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MoHT) escorting client groups to Oman.
Sandra recalls the emotional feeling she experienced while flying over the Hajar Mountains and the promise she made to herself to return again to explore more of Oman’s hidden treasures.
However, in 2015 an opportunity to represent MoHT for the Sultanate of Oman in Australia became a reality.
“Every day was a pleasure where I could educate the travel trade on why they should offer Oman to clients as well as assisting potential visitors with itinerary planning and bringing their travel arrangements to life. The role offered many wonderful highlights such as hosting the final and the crowning of the Extreme Sailing Series on Sydney harbour with thousands of spectators lining the waterfront and an opportunity to visit the pavilion to learn firsthand about Omani culture and traditions with the help of Omani university students studying in Australia,” she explains.
Sandra relates another memorable and proud day at The University of NSW ‘Open Cultural Day’ where students displayed their homeland culture with food, dress, dance, art and music.
She was also fortunate to be offered an opportunity to travel to Bahrain followed by Oman with a group of Australian travel agents after the first trip to Oman. The three-day journey, she feels, highlighted the beauty and diversity of breathtaking landscapes, wadis, forts, oceans, mountains, deserts which opened her mind to everything Oman has to offer.
From 2018 to 2020 she was fortunate and grateful to have had the support of Maria Slater Travel in Canberra to plan and escort her client’s groups to Oman.
Every single journey has been filled with magical moments and memories for her.
In May 2022, Sandra finally returned to Oman after two years of lockdown.
“I find it hard to believe that I was travelling and able to create new travel memories once more. I know that once I have boarded my aircraft and settled into my seat, ready for the long-haul flight, I will be filled with excitement, anxious, relieved and beyond happy to be visiting my beloved Oman once more,” she recollects gleefully.
In addition to her continuing Oman journey, Sandra was recently appointed as Sales and Marketing Manager, Australia & New Zealand, representing Magic Arabia, Magic Camps and Magic Travels.
Sandra is planning to return in October which marks her 10th visit and 2023 it will be 20 years since her first visit to Oman.
“Oman and its citizens never fail to bedazzle me, and I will remain your advocate always,” she confessed.
Juma al Harthy, Operations Manager, Magic Arabia, says they are ready with tailor made travel plans which will be more in demand post Covid. “We understand the importance and responsibility of eco-tourism and hence created a dedicated Green Travel Brand: Beyond by Magic Travels. These programmes focus on sharing with the locals and taking care of all that surrounds us and ethical travel in 2019 which focuses on eco-sensitive glamping.”
“We are aware of our responsibility to preserve the environment and other destinations we operate. We look forward to working with our partners and teams to provide visitors with the best authentic experience in promotion to friends and families and repeat visitation,” he adds.
Along with Sandra and Juma, Omani guides Salim al Mauli, Nasser al Hajri are out to provide the best professional service by offering flexibility and innovative itineraries and experiences for the guests.