“Someday, when things are okay, you will look back and feel proud that you did not give up…”
THESE inspiring words from Nadhira al Harthy, Omani mountain climber who scaled the Mount Everest, during a presentation while addressing members of Femmes du Tourisme (Women Tourism Network Association), really impressed them.
A small group of 23 women forming the French tourism network visited the Sultanate last month, marking their first travel reunion outside of France.
The association, based in Paris, consists of 122 women members, and connects women leaders in various sectors of tourism in order to strengthen their influence and to encourage and promote the careers of women in the industry.
The group met with leading women personalities like entrepreneur Maha al Lamki, Nadhira al Harthy and Maitha bint Saif al Mahrouqi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism.
The ladies team visited several landmarks and tourist spots in Oman during their visit.
They spoke about their personal experiences from the trip.
The visit to Oman was the first travel reunion of the association outside France. I prepared the visit representing Oman tourism in France along with ASIA, a French tour operator and Oman Air.
As part of the Women Tourism Network Association since many years, our objective was to visit the Sultanate and meet with career women.
It was not only a voyage but an exchange, an exceptional encounter with Omani inspiring ladies in different fields. It was a voyage of 100 per cent women and team building.
The quality of the trip was very high in terms of content and exchange.
I am thankful to all the ladies who participated and made the trip successful, the partners who lent full support and loved the concept of the trip. We are proud of our Omani ladies and they can set an example and launch ‘Women Tourism Association’ in Oman.
Rania Khodr: Femmes du Tourisme, Director, Oman Tourism in France and Suisse Romande
Oman is a perfect spot for escape from stressful life. This unique destination is a nice peaceful break with the beauty of nature with amazing dunes, Hajar Mountains and spectacular wadis where we can swim and relax.
Oman is perfect for a family holiday for events, for a relaxing stay with a mix of culture, exchange, adventure and panoramic views.
We should not forget the friendly Omani people and the nice time spent in Nizwa souq and the fort. We enjoyed and discovered the delicious Kahwa and dates. We were happy to visit and listen to interesting women guides at the National Museum and the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM). We enjoyed The Chedi Muscat and Al Bustan Palace Hotel and loved our stay at the new W Hotel Muscat and the nice and comfortable desert night camp.
I can proudly say that Oman’s destination is a great success with growth and ASIA belongs to the top 5 of the tour operator promoting Oman on the French market. ASIA Voyages organise roadshows, workshop and FAM trip to promote the destination.
Marilyn Jardat: Director of Operations, Asia Voyages
I was one of the lucky women visiting Oman and this was my first trip to the Sultanate. I was very curious to discover the culture and meet Omani women.
This trip was clearly a teaser, and made us want to come back and spend more time. Oman has a lot of experiences to offer. I was surprised to visit such a beautiful music opera, swim in a wadi, run in the sandy dunes, swim in the golf and in the longest pool in the region at The Chedi Muscat, discover local cuisine, get lost at the souk, visit the fort at Nizwa.
My dream was realised with visiting the desert. It was such a fantastic experience, sand dunes, sunset, magic night at the Desert Night Camp where you can sleep under the stars but in a comfortable tent. This was a true authentic experience.
This trip was a memorable opportunity to meet very inspiring Omani women like Nadhira al Harthy. During the visit to Oman Sail, we were surprised to see how sport is important and the mission is to inspire young ones from the National Sail Team.
We also met the Director of ROHM, a woman so inspiring and passionate about her job.
I was lucky to be part of the ‘Camel’ team and topped with first prize during an event the prizes of which were distributed by Maitha al Mahrouqi.
Emmanuelle Winter: Founder, Accent Bleu Consulting
As a tourism lawyer, my trips around the world had not yet brought me closer to the Sultanate. Thanks to ‘Femmes du Tourisme’ to which I have the honour to belong, I discovered a surprising and endearing, open and egalitarian country where women can flourish in all fields.
Moving from the luxury of star hotels to souqs in Muttrah, Nizwa, through Rimal Al Sharqiya, Opera House or the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was an unforgettable experience.
When you discover Oman, you know deep down that you will come back, to discover again the secrets of a welcoming and calm, safe and colourful country.
More than breathtaking landscapes, it was the Omanis who charmed me, their kindness and thoughtfulness, their frank smile and their open-mindedness.
But I enjoyed the restful perspective of cities where the gaze is not limited by huge skyscrapers of glass and steel but where the whiteness of the constructions perfectly matches the ochre of the mountains or the desert.
What a fabulous moment at the desert when we discovered at the top of the dunes the facilities of carpets and poofs, with refreshments waiting for us, after a 4×4 trip and a lunch under the tent at Wadi Al Arbeieen.
As soon as I got back to Paris, all I wanted to do is plan my next trip to Oman!
Attorney at Law, Paris
The idea of this trip was born almost a year ago, through discussions between Rania Khodr, Rocio Jolivet and Marylin Jardat from Asia Voyages with whom I work.
This trip allowed us to discover this fantastic country with the incredible locations at Muscat, Nizwa and the sublime dune desert of Rimal Al Sharqiya.
We were privileged to meet exceptional women and share wonderful moments with them.
At Oman Sail, we met representatives of the national sailing team, including Women’s Sailing Team who participated in the Tour de France under the direction of Philippe Poupon, renowned French sailor.
We also met Nadhira al Harthy, an outstanding personality, in the magnificent setting of Al Bustan Palace led by its General Manager Katrin Herz.
Nadhira climbed Mt Everest after having helped an Omani mountaineer who really impressed her and asked for help to write about his expeditions.
Reaching the summit, she paid tributes to her mentor by brandishing a banner in his name, having learned of his sudden death as she climbed the summit.
Her testimony was moving and at the same time revealing the adventurous and passionate temperament of this Omani woman.
Maitha al Mahrouqi, in her speech emphasised gender equality and the importance of education from an early age, an opportunity for all and the opportunities of success.
Meeting and interacting with them helped make our trip a real success.
Marketing Director, Asia
The first edition of ‘Women Association Travel to Oman’ was an unbelievable experience, meeting Omani women in various sectors.
All the women we met were a lesson of integrity, professionalism, dedication and passion. The visit showed the development of women and their important role in the Sultanate.
The experience by Nadhira shows us that her perseverance and vision are an example for us to follow.
Had an amazing experience at the National Museum where two lady guides spoke fluent French as they learnt the language aided by books and movies.
We returned to Paris with a country in our heart, with incredible experiences and with the certitude that beauty has an address.
Country Manager France,