Branding the Sultanate as a tourist destination is what this Lithuanian is bent on. As a tour leader and organiser from the Baltic state, she has travelled to Oman over 20 times since 2014.
The Sultanate has always been ‘mysterious’ to Egle Likaite and for her many Lithuanian friends.
A travel guide is more than everything for the traveller, says Egle.
“We are a source of information and much more acting like teachers, psychologists or even doctors sometimes. We travel with different people in a group and even need to be ready for surprises.”
During her several trips to Arab and other countries, she promotes Oman as a destination. Virtually acting like an ambassador, she promises to travel as long as she can and scout for tourists who prefer to visit Oman.
Added to her untiring efforts, more Lithuanians have come to know Oman through media, book fairs, frankincense or even essential oils.
It all began during her trip to Zanzibar when she saw the House of Wonders or Palace of Wonders and forts of Stone Town. She then made up her mind to travel to the Sultanate and hoped it would last long.
Egle presents Oman as a very safe and friendly country. She mentions during travel with tourists one has to speak about new destinations wherever possible.
“It is not a secret that a lot of people in Europe feel Arab countries are not safe. So very often I am asked is it safe to travel all over and I explain them that it is one of the safest countries in the world with extremely friendly people,” she says.
Her efforts as a guide have enabled many Lithuanians like Ernesta Sakalaite, Danute Debesiuniene, Migle Mikulenaite, Jolita Auglyte to visit Oman.
They come from professions like guides, doctors and professors. But they all leave the Sultanate with a heavy heart and wish to be back. “All of them agree that beauty has an address — which is Oman.”
Egle mentions life in Muscat to be a bit similar to Europe.
“There are opera, cinema theatres, museums, cafes, malls and restaurants. Everything is mixed with strong local traditions and feel Western dwelling. Going out of Muscat, Nizwa or Sur, you find yourselves in a completely different world with animal markets, tribe traditions, camel farms, desert schools and much more.”
She praises the hospitable nature of Omanis who are ready to help, or sometimes pray for those in trouble.
Egle recollects her visit when they got stuck in the sand somewhere in the south of Oman. Many people volunteered to help but those who could not render physical help were ready to pray for them.
“I love Oman outside the big towns. There you can meet Bedouins, fishermen, tribal citizens.” She has a deep interest in nomadic life, their traditions, faith, lifestyles and places.
Egle’s biggest love is the desert.
“This year I will be undertaking my third expedition to Rub’ al Khali. I love to travel to Masirah Island, Dhofar Governorate, and other non-urban areas,” she admits.
“I am in love with fairytale stories of Bedouins. One of the best what the Sultanate has to offer is the frankincense which is not only a scent, but a history and culture of the country. I love everything that contains frankincense: From its water to perfumes, and last time I tried to make ice cream from frankincense it turned out to be really tasty.”
Oman for this energetic tour organiser from Vilinus is ‘unbelievable’ and she will continue to come back with tourists year after year.