“After decades of, often criticized, conservative economic policies and cultural heritage protectionism, Oman is perfectly positioned to win tourism’s greatest prize: the cultural tourist, writes Mark Abouzeid. Continue reading
Quoted in Forbes!
“Mark Abouzeid, economist and cultural documentarian, who has followed Oman’s economy closely, agrees.
“People living and working in the area, possibly in countries with draconian laws on alcohol, who visit Oman regularly, and, yes, do like their drink, may choose other holiday destinations,” he says. “But the fastest growing sector in Oman is cultural and natural tourism. These tourists tend to accept local laws and adapt. They’re looking for something different and will be drawn to Oman’s parks, beaches, natural reserve, etc, and will willingly accept new laws.”
Even labor shouldn’t be affected, according to Abouzeid, who says petroleum businessmen and engineers would likely be put off by the changes, but will go regardless “since work requires them to, as they do in Saudi Arabia.”
“Overall, Oman may suffer slightly, but I don’t think it will do significant damage to hotels over the long-haul,” he says.
“It will require the Omani destinations to promote heavily on the cultural and natural aspects of the country and reinforce the cultural norms that make it a unique and wonderful destination.”
– See more at: http://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/…/will-oman…/articleid/7731
Discover the beauty of Muscat, meet the friendly Omani people and join in the celebrations at the 2014 Muscat Festival. Dancers from India, Singapore, Mexico, Palestine and more. See the colors, sounds and tastes of this marvelous event.
“Dubbed Oman’s biggest cultural and historical event, the Muscat Festival is the sultanate’s exhibition of local culture, art, consumer goods and services. The festival has a special flavour – a mixture of old and new, history and progression – from folk poetry and dance evenings, to lectures on solar energy, a chocolate festival and fashion shows. Some 1.5 million people from the region visit the month-long event, which can be seen at various venues around the city including the Omani Heritage Village, Seeb Beach and Al Qurum National Park where the most popular happenings take place.” WorldGuide.eu
Mark Abouzeid spent a week with performers and artisans participating in the 2014 Muscat International Folklore festival. Countries from around the globe and Omani tribesman from around the country mix at this important month long event exchanging aspects and knowledge of the unique cultural traditions and heritage. Join him in this ongoing series highlighting some of the key activities and personalities.
In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque.
The Mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The main musalla (prayer hall) is square (external dimensions 74.4 x 74.4 metres) with a central dome rising to a height of fifty metres above the floor. The dome and the main minaret (90 metres) and four flanking minarets (45.5 metres) are the mosque’s chief visual features.
The main musalla can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the women’s musalla can accommodate 750 worshipers. The outer paved ground can hold 8,000 worshipers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers. (Wikipedia)
From souks in Muscat to the coastal fishing villages, Mark Abouzeid creates fine art photography of the beauty and wonders of Oman.
In his seminal book, Terra Santa, David Roberts’ lithographs remind us of a different time…a time when travel was always an adventure…where even the shortest trip could take weeks…like Stoddard, here is Oman as one might see it for the first time while on some great adventure. “These are the photos I take for myself…the way I see it and not necessarily how editors need.” Mark Abouzeid, shot in Oman 2013. Continue reading
From souks around Oman, Mark Abouzeid explores a core feature of Arabic culture and daily life.
Like the bar in every central piazza throughout Italy, the Souk or market is the heart and soul of any Arabic City and Town. Men gather every morning to talk, gossip and debate under the auspices of daily shopping.
“Every middle eastern city or town has a souk and to the untrained eye, they look all the same. Open a guidebook page on souks and it is often impossible to tell the difference between those in Oman and those of Morocco, Jordan and other countries. Each souk is unique and, yet, they have a strong common connection between cultures.” Mark Abouzeid, shot in Oman 2013.
For close to a decade, Oman has been one of the best kept secrets of Asian expats and luxury travelers’. Mark Abouzeid returns to Muscat after 7 years to find an Oman making its international debut in fashion, culture and the arts.
Mention to friends and family that you are planning a trip to Oman and, invariably, you will be met by dumb stares and the inevitable, “Where?” Seven years after being introduced Oman to travel and lifestyle readers around the globe, Oman’s reputation as an expensive, luxury destination and its geographical position between Iran and Yemen help to keep this jewel one of the best kept secrets of the Middle East.
“Located on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a land of rich culture, undiscovered landscapes, and booming development. It’s diverse landscape offers beaches, mountains, wadis (gorges), and deserts that make it unique in the Gulf. ”