Agent guide to Oman

 
What were your expectations and how did Oman meet them?
I had high expectations from what I had read and heard from Sandra (Oman Tourism trade manager) on her office visit to us and wow yes it certainly did – in fact exceeded my expectations.
 
The one wow moment of the trip?
I cannot really pick one wow moment.  I have been to a lot of Middle Eastern Countries in my many years in the Travel Industry and have visited many a Mosque, so the Sultan Qaboos Mosque –  really impressed me with its serene gardens,  not to mention that Swarovski Chandelier and the once piece hand -made carpet in the men’s mosque.   But my wow moment was the  Alila Resort Jabel Akhdar. I love beautiful resorts,  I have been very privileged to stay in many over the years-  this one because of the setting in the Akhdar Mountains, literally blew me away and shot to the top of my list of favourite hotels in the world from the décor to the scenery !  Cannot wait to sell it !
 
The best meal of the trip?
Wow the meals.  Omani people certainly love their food !  The Brunch Buffet ( Remember it was Friday and that is the Omani  equivalent to Sunday Brunch) on our arrival at The Grand Hyatt –  had a wow factor, crab, lobster, oysters and just about anything you could think of in the most beautiful setting –  think this was the best because it was the first ! There were many more wonderful meals ahead of us ! I now have a  hummus  addiction!
 
Most striking natural wonder?
Natural wonders abound in Oman.  The striking natural feature for me was the  sandstone mountains meeting the sea the colour combinations and overall views that offered us for as far as the eye can see.
 
What activity got your heart pumping?
We had a wonderful last day aboard the beautiful 75ft catamaran Azzura operated by Ocean Blue International.  I love the water, and the crystal blue waters surrounding the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort –  not to mention swimming in those waters hunting for fish and turtles ! and basking under the sail on the nets of the vessel.
 
Which hotel(s) will you be recommending to clients and why?
Obviously Alila – cannot wait to sell this
I loved our Chedi hotel inspection,  The Grand Hyatt was a great hotel for families with the swimming pool and beach, but if having an extended Muscat Stay I would not go past the Shangri-La Al Jissah Resort, the facilities cater for all the client’s needs in a variety of ways.
 
How has this famil changed the way you will sell Oman?
Until now I had not sold Oman at all.   Now I can see a market for selling Oman as a destination in its own right or a stopover on the way to or from Europe.  In its own right would sell this for our Australian Christmas holiday market as an alternative to the usual Fiji, Thailand, Bali escape remembering you can come in from Dubai and Abu Dhabi overland if not wanting to take another flight makes this a great “new” selling opportunity for the astute Travel Professional.
 
Best three tips for selling what you have seen?
You have a destination of vast contrasts – mountains and sea – private touring available as this is definitely a 4WD
Touring at its best.
Be prepared to travel quite long distances to capture the diverse beauty and experiences
Good cool clothing –  lightweight cottons to cope with the climate differences –  the mountains are cooler than at sea level- pack in layers
Oman is a destination where you can be relaxed or adventurous – long walks in the mountains or along a sandy beach, definitely a “do” or “drop” destination of the clients choosing. 
 
What surprised you most about Oman?
The diversity-   No high rise the building height restrictions enable you to take in the beautiful scenery the mountains to the sea this was the “old world” impressions of what Arabia used to be – definitely Arabia’s best kept secret.
 
 
Who would you recommend an Oman holiday to?
I have a lot of school teachers, uni students etc. in my client base-  this holiday destination is an easy reach destination for a 10 day holiday break to get away from the “normal” Fiji, South Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Thailand holiday maker  who want a beach and beauty destination with something to see and do not just a flop and drop resort style holiday. Also recommend this destination to the “I’ve been everywhere” client who asks us to recommend somewhere “new”.
This is the most exciting reason for my visit on this famil opportunity-  having a “new” destination to sell.
 
How would you sell Oman to a client considering a stopover or a holiday in the Arabian Peninsula
recommending Oman as a stopover destination – just a hop skip and a jump from our major international airline hubs right now –  a warm up on the way back from a European Winter vacation ( our summer holiday season is the best time to travel to Oman) or overland entry from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai 90 minutes to Ziggy Bay
 
 

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