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Tourism ministry, PDO sign pact to protect geo-heritage sites

24 Jan 2021

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to protect and conserve a number of geological heritage sites in Oman. 

The aim of the MoC is to ensuree the sustainability of these sites, which are considered important national heritage locations and tourist destinations of global scientific significance. 

The agreement was signed by H E Salim bin Mohammed bin Said al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, and Raoul Restucci, PDO managing director. H E Mahrouqi said, “Oman enjoys geological diversity by virtue of its geographical location. Mountains, springs, caves and rock formations have characterised Oman with a unique geological nature, making it a tourist destination due to its variation in terrain and climates. Its features are an outlet for nature lovers, observers of geological transformations and those studying them. 

“The memorandum signed with PDO comes within the framework of the partnership and the strengthening of relations between the public and private sectors, and the consolidation and encouragement of the exchange of experiences in various fields.”

He added, “The memorandum aims to establish a mechanism to rehabilitate a number of important Omani geo-heritage sites to protect and preserve them and to promote them as tourist destinations that highlight the diversity of Oman’s rich geo-heritage. It also aims to exchange geological information, seek assistance from expertise between the ministry and the company, and exchange data and information to map the geological sites in the sultanate.”

The areas of collaboration also include providing scientific and technical support to protect endangered geological sites, as well as preparing files for geoparks in the sultanate and identifying them with the aim of registering one or two sites subsequently in the List of Unesco Global Geoparks (UGGp).

The pact also involves delivering a series of workshops targeting existing key tourism sector players, and job seekers interested in geo-tourism. As well as enabling SME’s and youth groups to engage with this new emerging sector and empowering them with knowledge and opportunities. 

Restucci said, “PDO is proud to support such initiatives as Oman’s geology is highly complex and of great scientific significance. This project hopes to ensure the immediate protection and conservation of key threatened geo-sites as a foundation for developing geo-heritage-based tourism in Oman and the establishment of geoparks as economic and job opportunity generators.”

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