Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), the government’s executive arm for the development of the tourism sector, has partnered with the educational not-for-profit foundation, Outward Bound Oman, on a unique project that will raise awareness of the Sultanate as a tourist destination in the United Kingdom, a key source market.
The project will create a series of online teaching resources tailored to the UK National Curriculum for use in the classroom to build a long-term understanding of the Sultanate and the Middle East region amongst students in both primary and secondary schools throughout the UK.
“This project is another great example of the breadth and depth of the UK’s long-standing relationship with Oman. These resources will help embed knowledge about Oman into young people’s educational learning, and help promote Oman as a tourist destination for British holiday-makers,” British Ambassador to Oman Hamish Cowell said.
“As the executive arm of the government for the development of the tourism sector in Oman, Omran plays a key role in driving the growth of tourism in the Sultanate through major developments and investments that align with the National Tourism Strategy 2040,” Qais Al Hosni, Head of Government and Corporate Affairs at Omran, said.
Over the past 12 months, Outward Bound Oman and Omran have been working closely on a new, two-phase project to create two up-to-date, online educational resources—one specifically about the Sharqiya Sands, and the second that compares Oman and the UK, called “Discovering Oman”.
The first phase of the programme saw a team of primary and lower-secondary school geography teachers from the UK visit Oman for one week in January 2018. Working in partnership with the award-winning team of geography teachers at the British School Muscat, the team visited Outward Bound Oman’s recently completed national training centre in the Sharqiya Sands.
They also spent time in Muscat meeting key officials before returning to the UK to design their lesson plans, which will be linked to the teaching curriculum.
On September 26, the first phase of the plans were launched at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London, where workshops were delivered to show teachers how to use the resources.
From 1985 to 1987, leading scientists from Oman worked alongside a team from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to undertake an extensive biological and geographical survey of the sands, making them one of the most intensively studied arid environments on earth. In 2017, the Society’s online resources for schools were in high demand, with the school pages being viewed in excess of one million times over the course of the year.
Phase 2 of the project will see a team of secondary geography teachers visit Oman early in 2019 to undertake their own data collection, and produce their own lesson plans targeting older students.