Wednesday, November 30, 2022 | Jumada al-ula 5, 1444 H
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24°C / 24°C

Love at first sight


Graziella, Sophie, Sophia, and Sarah are all first-time French visitors who were in Muscat during a recent visit of the Congress of Selectour, France’s leading network of independent travel agencies.

Impressed with Oman’s tourism potential, these French tour operators have promised to recommend Oman to their customers. They have also decided to promote Oman as a destination to their clients. The meeting was recently hosted by the Sultanate.

The excited participants saw the developments taking place in Oman tourism which will reflect in the form of increased movement of French tourists to the Sultanate.

Rania Khodr, Director, Office of External Tourism Representation of Ministry of Tourism in Paris, says that at least, 88 per cent of the companies which participated under the umbrella of the leading Selectour Network have never known the Sultanate earlier. “It was a major achievement to host the workshop in Muscat,’”she said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Sophia who handles the Communications for Selectour. Terming it as an ‘exceptional event’, she mentions the network chose the Sultanate to hold its 9th Business Sales Force, because of its growing destination in the French market and a country that is in the heart of development. Selectour organised the event, thanks to the effective collaboration of the Tourism Office of the Sultanate and Emirates Falcon.

All the comments of the participants were unanimous of such a successful event. More than 90 per cent of the employees of Selectour agencies were unaware about Oman and she’s is confident that they will be the best ambassadors to promote the destination. This positive energy should therefore continue in 2018 and in the years to come.

Terry Jiro, a representative of a tourist office in the French market, praised the potential of the Sultanate in the tourism sector, which qualifies it to attract French tourists. The Sultanate, he points out, is a close tourist destination. It is not more than six hours away from France.

Many of the participants lauded the safety and security in the Sultanate. They took time to visit several tourist spots in Muscat during their stay and went back truly impressed.

Graziella flew back with nostalgic memories having made a wonderful discovery of the Sultanate, while Sarah thanked the Tourism Office of Oman and Arabica Orient Tours for organising a memorable trip.

Emmanuel, a representative of French tourism promotion company, was particularly impressed by the natural beauty of the country which she could see during the short visit. As the present meeting was mostly focused on networking, she vowed to work towards attracting groups of French tourists to the Sultanate. Giroux Thierry, a Frenchman, also joined the congress as an organiser from Arabica Orient Tours and Emirates Falcon.

Patrick, a tourism investor and one of the owners of French tour operators, promised to visit the country again by the end of the year to source local partners and explore possibilities of various hotels and their capacities. However, Laurent Abitbol, Chief Executive Officer of the Selectour Network, admits the Sultanate, despite its considerable efforts, is still unknown to many in the industry in France and Europe.

“The meeting provided a right opportunity to introduce them to the Sultanate and its various tourist elements. They can share their experience through tourism cooperation and increase the number of French tourists, especially after they have seen the hospitality and many other features that the Sultanate has to offer.”

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