Unique Arabian culture coupled with 21st century development

Unique Arabian culture coupled with 21st century development


Accessible for all to share, today Oman is a land steeped in a rich and colourful heritage which is also coupled with modern 21st century development.

Welcoming of visitors and investing heavily in infrastructure to help them feel at home, the country is wholeheartedly embracing the concept of an economy supported by tourism, whilst also remaining true to the unique culture which differentiates it as the heartland of Arabia.

However, for much of the last century, the country was virtually closed to tourists, hiding a wealth of attractions behind its dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery.

Despite its rich history, when it was at the centre of key copper and perfume trading routes between east and west, much of the twentieth century saw the country sink into decline, with poverty propping up a very repressed and inward looking society.

The transformation of the Sultanate from an insular society, isolated from the rest of the world, into a cosmopolitan, regional centre of banking and commerce is largely down to its leader, the Sandhurst-educated Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, who took over the country from his father in 1970 and built the foundations of the new economy.


Facing stiff economic competition from Oman’s richer Gulf neighbours, the Sultan set out on a program of reform aimed at kick-starting the ailing economy and generating wealth for his people.

This growth was based mainly on export of oil, followed by agriculture and trade.

However, after its initial start the Sultan’s plans faced immediate challenges, the biggest of which was the military insurgence campaign by rebels in the Dhofar region of southern Oman near the Yemeni border.

This conflict used up a sizable part of Oman’s scarce economic resources and ate into the country’s small foreign exchange reserves, thereby stalling any investment in tourism.

It wasn’t until termination of the conflict in 1975 when the Omani economy started to grow on a gradual basis.

Bringing Oman up to speed as a modern state, the Sultan’s strategy has focused predominantly on selfsufficiency in food production, realised through intensive agriculture along the Batinah Coast and diversification of the economy.


The Sultan’s exploitation of oil and natural gas reserves – undertaken in a more controlled way than Oman’s Gulf neighbours – also enabled the implementation of an extensive welfare system, a free health and education system for all Omanis, and new support to sustain tourism.

Additionally, a comprehensive program of ‘Omanisation’ was implemented, with Omanis trained and prepared to replace expatriate employees at every possible opportunity.

With the transformation strategy having begun as part of a series of five year development plans – the first of which began 1976 to 1980 – this has since been followed up by the Sultan with a vision for Oman’s economic future up to the year 2020.

‘Vision 2020′ outlines the country’s economic and social goals over the 25 years of the second phase
of the development process (1996-2020).

Under the Sultan’s progressive approach to leadership, the Sultanate has not only undergone metamorphosis into a modern 21st century state.

He has also managed to achieve it without any destruction to the country’s authentic culture and heritage.

The result is a people who are at one with the idea of sharing their country’s vast tourism resources with visitors from all over the world.

*Images courtesy of Ministry of Tourism.


For further information contact Sultanate of Oman Tourism

P: (02) 9286 8930
Email:  info@tourismoman.com.au 
Visit:    www.omantourism.gov.om

Source = Sultanate of Oman Tourism
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