The ultimate traveller, having gained enough insights into the subtle dynamics of the nomadic dimension of the psyche, realises to his/her delight that though travel is a means to reach destinations, sometimes there’s no destination and what matters is only the journey. This is the singular aspect that equally enthralls the insouciant and the sober among travellers.
Of course, travel may not be blissful always: We’ve seen how airlines bump random passengers from oversold flights, mocking at the very idea of travel. But such jarring notes fail to mar the excitement of travel as a pleasurable and culturally enriching experience.
But travel continues to reinvent itself, and the technology of travel keeps us perennially amused: self-driving cars, eccentrically-fast floating trains, space planes with scramjet engines that would burn oxygen from the atmosphere (doing away with the need to carry heavy oxygen tanks), A2 aircraft that zoom past five times the speed of sound, personal monorail pods called Shweebs for urban transit... the list extends like a never-ending journey.
Zooming in on leisure travel, definitely “RVing”—exploring sites using Recreational Vehicles (RVs) that include caravans, campers and motorhomes — is all the rage now. In the US, for instance, over 9 million households own an RV, and its sales have reached a 40-year high. In the next five years, demand is expected to touch $16.6 billion.
Equipped with homely living space and amenities including kitchen, bath and bed facilities, RVs mainly cater to the travel interests of families or small groups.
Here in Oman too, reflecting the global trend, an increasing number of domestic and international visitors prefers sightseeing in RVs, enchanted by the highly relaxed and personalised travel experience they offer.
For a country as majestic as the Sultanate, which can easily fulfil the ultimate leisure fantasies of tourists with its diverse and alluring landscape, pleasing climate and rich cultural heritage, RVs turn out to be the most sensible choice for tourists and a promising business opportunity for entrepreneurs. Invariably, Oman — which holds great potential for sustainable eco-tourism — needs to be explored in a style that befits the country’s epithet as the ‘Jewel of Arabian Peninsula’.
It’s this potential that has been capitalised on by Oman Motorhomes, the exclusive dealers in the Sultanate for branded RVs that cater to diverse segments of tourists. The company beautifully supports the government’s mission of developing Oman’s tourism industry by offering visitors a unique, authentic and luxurious travel experience. Oman Motorhomes offers rentals (along with guided tours) and sales of RVs across sizes and floor plans.
Reports suggest the demand from local, regional and international visitors in the Sultanate for RVs is steadily going up. That’s to be expected, because today’s tourists are looking for a fulfilling experience; and what better way than exploring places in the homely environment of an RV?
But to take the full advantage of the fad for RVing, Oman needs to set up the required infrastructure: a network of RV campgrounds equipped with water, power and sewer connections, dump stations and more. The first step in this direction was taken when Omran signed a pact with Oman Motorhomes last year to establish the Sultanate’s first RV campgrounds in major tourist areas, beginning with Al Ashkhara and Salalah.
Having sufficient number of high-end RV campgrounds across the country will certainly raise the profile of tourism in Oman. With a wide range of RV models across size and price points available in the market, the trend of tourists taking to RVing is sure to gain momentum in Oman in the coming years.
Oman’s tourism sector can move forward only when enterprises welcome innovative ideas and follow global trends (such as RVing) to add value and make it attractive for visitors. Such initiatives can boost employment and entrepreneurial options for youngsters from local communities, and also bring significant economic benefits to the communities.
T V SARNGA DHARAN NAMBIAR