Oman wins heritage tourism destination award

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BERLIN: The Sultanate has won the International Award for Best Destination — Heritage and Culture 2019 presented by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA), an affiliate of United Nations and World Tourism Organization (WTO). Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, received the award from Dr Taleb Rifai, former secretary-general of WTO and Sagar Ahluwalia, Secretary-General of PATWA at a ceremony held on the sidelines of the International Travel Bourse (ITB) Berlin.
The Sultanate has earned the award in recognition of its efforts in preserving its ancient cultural and heritage landmarks.
Speaking at the ceremony, Al Mehrzi valued PATWA’s appreciation of the Sultanate’s efforts to boost heritage and cultural tourism being a civilizational legacy that should be preserved and presented to the tourists as a highly important tourist product. He noted that the ministry of tourism attaches great importance to cultural and heritage tourism, which forms the Sultanate’s tourist identity and reflects the culture of the Omani people.
Ahluwalia said that Oman was one of the most important country of the world with many heritage and cultural landmarks. Its heritage sites were well prepared to attract tourists and visitors from all across the world.
The efforts made by the Sultanate, through its Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Heritage and Culture, to present its historical and civilizational sites as tourism products were exemplary. The diversity of natural beauty of Oman and its environment, including sand dunes, deserts, mountains and its serene beaches add value to its heritage tourism, said Ahluwalia.
The Sultanate of Oman, with its more than 500 forts, is one of the most important countries in terms of historical and cultural wealth.
Some of its historical and cultural monuments have also been listed by the Unesco.
The PATWA is an organisation of travel writers founded in 1998, at the Pacific Area Travel Association (PATA) Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It supports travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region and works both with the public and private sectors to support sustainable growth and improve the quality of travel and tourism
The award also comes in recognition of the efforts exerted by the Sultanate to maintain its cultural heritage besides highlighting the cultural and heritage tourism as an important tourist product, the minister said adding that the ministry strives for a blend of heritage and modernity which resulted in the Sultanate emerging as a distinguished tourist destination.
The Sultanate is home to more than 500 forts and castles beside the other historic landmarks some of which have been listed as world heritage sites which placed it among the most important countries in the cultural and heritage tourism, the minister concluded.

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