For Samuel Sommerhalder, the Sultanate represents a land of contrasts. A Swiss travel enthusiast he says ‘magical’ Oman is not in vain. Amazed by the minimalistic magic of Oman, Samuel says the beauty of the landscapes and warmth of its citizens are unique.
He is convinced that the Sultanate can optimally market these significant advantages and plan unique projects in various governorates with a suitable partner company and lead them to lasting success.
Presently based in Zürich, Switzerland, Samuel is a senior Project Manager and an experienced external specialist.
He envisions setting up an Alpine Club in Oman as has successfully introduced Swiss tourism projects which will have immense potential for Oman.
The Swiss Alpine Club, he says, will be pleased to support the foundation of an Alpine Club in Oman. Alpine huts offer a chance to take a break from the daily grind and relax. The major highlight will be to bring the mountain flora closer to the tourists in a specially created mountain garden.
The club will be a location for the tourists to comfortably experience the fantastic mountain world in a cable car and enjoy culinary delicacies at the
mountain station as desired by the tourists.
Samuel visited the Sultanate earlier many times and as recently as in October 2018. ‘It is a unique experience to discover the beauty and diversity of the mountainous region,’ he adds.
As member of the Oman-Switzerland Friendship Association (OSFA), he elaborates that ‘Luxury hotels in the mountainous region have their justification.’ Families with children feel comfortable in a holiday apartment. In Switzerland there are over 150 mountain huts where tourists from all over the world enjoy the unique panorama, try culinary delights of the simple kind. Many of these huts also provide a simple infrastructure for a smooth night’s sleep at affordable prices,’ he mentions.
Samuel suggests the Alpine Club in Oman will further expand the network of hiking trails and discover new climbing routes which could provide for an interesting objective.
He also suggests a professional information centre which can have significant advantages in preparing tourists for leisure activities and offer professional and safe equipment for rent on site.
On November 1, 2018 he founded Sommerhalder Impulse, his company. 50 per cent of his work is focused on innovative and sustainable development projects in Oman in the areas of tourism, hospitality and the introduction of new, environmentally friendly products and services.
Mohammed Sulayem al Hinai who runs Aryaf Jibreen Tourism, a tour agency in Nizwa, was his professional tour guide, who made Samuel’s trip to Oman unforgettable.
The high point of his visit was meeting Camel-Lady ‘Mehmet’ during his visit to the camel breeding farm of Mohammed’s family in Nizwa.
Rendezvous with the smart, sweet camels at the camel breeding farm, made his visit most beautiful.
The encounter with ‘Mehmet’ was unique and unforgettable. “When the young camels are six months old, they are professionally trained daily on a six-km race track in the middle of the desert. Unbelievable, the top speed is 60 km per hour,” he adds.
Samuel reasons that camels are very sensitive and would be perfect therapists for various illness. Children desire to spend some time with the cute animals on a camel farm, enjoy natural products and enjoy the starry outdoors.
He visited Jabal al Akhdhar having a view of the magnificent hotel complex and was amazed to see Diana’s view point from where he saw the iconic terraced villages such as ‘Al Ayn’ which produces Mediterranean fruits.
He also travelled to Misfat al Abriyeen, the old mountain village, consisting of historic houses of exceptional architecture with old stone buildings and lush vegetation around The View Oman Hotel at Al Hamra.
He says the focus should be on interested individual tourists, who want to experience firsthand the culture, leisure activities and beauty of the country and also find some time to relax in a quieter environment.
Hopefully, Oman will never degenerate into a mass tourism oasis like Thailand.
He suggests daily direct flights within 6 to 7 hours from different metropolises in Europe are substantial advantages which can be marketed optimally.
Salalah, in his view, has good potential for people who, after a hectic time in the long work process, would prefer to enjoy the ‘Golden Years’ in a senior residence without snow and cold and a suitable infrastructure just under 6 hour flight from Zurich.