Meet discusses heritage tourism

SALALAH, July 23 – Tourism is a serious business which has wider dimensions than entertainment, scenery and scenic beauty. The heritage aspect of tourism was on the limelight of ministers, UN representatives, heritage and tourism experts and a large number of tourism stakeholders during the first Arab Forum for Tourism and Heritage in Salalah, which concluded on Tuesday.
The two-day forum opened under the auspices of Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamoud al Busaidy, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, at Salalah Rotan Resort on Monday. The forum has attendance from all over the Arab world and the event is part of the Salalah Tourism Festival (STF).
Being event host, Oman exhibited strong presence. Shaikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service; Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information; Salim bin Aufit al Shanfari, Chairman of Dhofar Municipality and a large number of government officials and hospitality operators were present on the first day of forum. A large number of media representatives both from Oman and other Arab countries are also participating.
The Governor of Dhofar hailed the forum as an important event that can pave the way for sustainable tourism in the Arab world. “It starts with recording and chronicling different periods of the Arab and Omani history and I am happy that the forum is coinciding with the tourist season in Dhofar Governorate.
It is good to understand the value of tourism especially from the perspective of heritage and culture, and we hope that the forum will come out with important recommendations to achieve the goals for which it has been set up.”
Shaikha Mai al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Kingdom of Bahrain, was crowned with the title of ‘Person of the Arab Heritage’ by the Arab Centre for Tourism Information.
She presented a video showcasing rare heritage and efforts to preserve them.
The role of media came up for discussion as everyone agreed that media can play a vital role in sending the right message to the right audience. Dr Taleb Rifai, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arab Centre for Tourism Information, spoke about the association between media and tourism and the importance of promoting the cultural heritage.
In her speech, Princess Dana Firas, Unesco Global Ambassador and President of Petra National Trust, praised the tenets of tourism that is abound in the Sultanate and also spoke about the importance of the tourism industry and the development of tourism patterns and the importance of cultural and heritage tourism.
The forum will discuss issues and challenges being faced in the Arab region on Tuesday and likely to come out with valuable recommendations to address them.