Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has announced that it will host the 3rd Global Geotourism Conference taking place from October 30 to November 1, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel. The event will serve as a platform for showcasing Oman’s global appeal as a geotourism destination.
Around 300 delegates, including international tourism specialists and agencies, are expected to attend. The conference will be co-convened by the Ministry and Professor Ross Dowling from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, Advisor for the UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks.
The Ministry of Tourism sees geotourism as an important emerging segment that will add value to the Sultanate’s tourism strategy. To be held under the theme ‘Seeing Destinations Differently,’ the global symposium will provide a platform for Oman to launch several geotourism trails in the Muscat area. Tour information and navigation covering the routes will be viewable on 3G telephones.
“The Sultanate’s natural wonders are a core element of the national tourism strategy. Few destinations in the region can match the diversity and powerful imagery of our landscapes, so we are very delighted to host this event,” said Mohammad Ali Bin Said, Acting Undersecretary of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism.
Aside from showcasing Oman’s geological attractions, the conference will provide a venue for the local tourism industry to share experiences with international geotourism experts and operators. The Ministry has waived conference fees to encourage maximum participation from industry professionals as well as tourism students.
“The Ministry hopes that interested people from overseas, our local tourism students and industry partners will take advantage of this great opportunity and learn more about geotourism while networking with leaders and experts in this field,” concluded Bin Said.
Co-convener Professor Ross Dowling, a frequent visitor to Oman, said: “Geotourism is a rapidly-growing international segment. We can see more people traveling to see and learn more about remarkable landscapes and geological features. With this in mind, it is important to provide easily understandable geological information to add to the visitor experience in other areas such as trekking and road touring. The high caliber of confirmed conference speakers, which includes representatives from the IUCN, Unesco and various universities, reflects the growth of geotourism and its many aspects.”
“I am sure that attending the conference and visiting Oman will give others the same joy I have had travelling the length and breadth of the Sultanate. It is a peaceful and culturally vibrant destination, and one the world’s leading geotourism venues. You must see it first-hand to appreciate its awe-inspiring landscapes and experience the warmth and hospitality of its people,” added Professor Dowling.