MUSCAT, Oman – The Tourism Ministry on Tuesday launched the ‘Muscat Geoheritage Auto Guide’ project to mark Muscat the Capital of Arab Tourism 2012.
It was held under the patronage of Her Excellency Maitha Bint Saif Al Mahrouqiyah, Undersecretary of the Tourism Ministry, at the Sheraton Qurum Beach Resort.
The idea of the project is based on having an application that includes information on 30 geo sites in Muscat, such as Al Khoud, Bandar Al Khairan, Wadi Al Meeh and Baushar. The programme includes maps for Muscat, geological sites and their paths to facilitate access to destinations by users and to provide them with information on the sites.
It is one of the vital projects, which highlights the environmental identity enjoyed by the Sultanate and its natural and geologic nature, Mahrouqiyah said in a statement.
She said the ministry aims to activate the project during this period to highlight the environmental aspect and focus on sustainable environment.
Mahrouqiyah said the project has been implemented in collaboration with a large number of specialised departments at the Ministry of Tourism, specialised companies in geology and environment and the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). She described the project as a scientific project rather than a tourist one. It provides valuable tourist, environmental and geological information on the Sultanate.
The project is a digital programme that can be transmitted via smart phones in four languages, she said. Thirty major geological sites in Muscat have been covered. The programme is available in Arabic, English, German and French languages. There are maps in Arabic and English for select sites besides sign boards on geological information and illustrations.
She said the project will be developed soon to include other governorates as geological sites are spread across the Sultanate.
The Muscat Geoheritage project got the Unesco award for its commitment to sustainable development, education and cultural rapprochement as part of efforts made by the Tourism ministry to develop the tourism sector in the Sultanate.
Said Bin Khalfan Al Mesharfi, Director of Tourism Product Development at the Tourism Ministry, said the Sultanate, represented by the Tourism Ministry, in collaboration with respective public and private departments, has adopted the sustainable development concept in its developmental strategy.
He said the project is a model for sustainable development projects supervised by the Tourism ministry and is the result of reviewing successful global experiences in showcasing natural and cultural sites using environment-friendly technologies.
The programme provides self-learning for individuals and school and university students.
At the launch ceremony, participants taking part in the project were honoured.
The Sultanate is one of the countries having unique geological sites that attract researchers from around the world.
The Geoheritage project is considered as an activation of the ideas put forth at the conference.