The much-anticipated program of events and activities for the 2012 Muscat Festival has been confirmed as starting on the evening of Thursday, 26 January. A showcase of both Omani and international culture and heritage, the main activities of the Festival will once again be focused in the two parks of Al Naseem Park, and Qurum Natural Park.
“Dedicated the ‘Year of the Child’ by our Council of Ministers, this edition of the Festival is particularly focused on creating education, fun and entertainment for the youth. The powerful combination of our Muscat festival with the Tour of Oman has also created an ideal platform to showcase our rich traditions and historical identity. Last year’s Festival witnessed over 1.2 million visitors with the global reach of the Tour of Oman in excess of 180 countries and we expect both these numbers to increase this year.” said HE Eng. Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi Head of Muscat Municipality
With Muscat having been honored by being named the 2012 Capital of Arab Tourism as well as being voted the second best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, behind only the Olympic Games host city of London, this also increases the strategic importance of the Muscat Festival and Tour of Oman for the promotion of the Sultanate on the international arena. Mona Tannous, Country Manager for Oman Tourism in Australia and New Zealand said’ In Australia we are in the stages of raising awareness and educating both trade and consumers about the diversity of tourism experiences in Oman. The Muscat Festival provides a wonderful vehicle for us to showcase the history, culture, arts, cuisine and sporting or adventure activities on offer."
Highlights of the festival include the Oman Heritage and Culture Village, where visitors will have the opportunity to learn from the best Omani artisans traditional skills throughout the full festival period. Alive with entertainment, children’s shows and plays, the village will include a working souq, with a variety of stalls to buy woven baskets, pottery and silver as well as to enable visitors to watch experts in traditional Omani occupations at work.
The International Festival for Arts, Heritage and Creativity, will again be a highlight of Qurum Natural Park with displays from over twenty-five countries. For families with children, Al Naseem Park will also be the perfect place for fun and excitement, incorporating an amusement park, funfairs, electronic games and children’s shows with an education village to captivate the imagination. There will also be nearly five hundred shops from almost thirty countries, giving the Festival a truly global appeal.
A great success in 2011, the Oman Food Festival will run for ten days from the 7 -17 February in Qurum Natural Park. Run in association with the expert eyes of chefs and students from the Oman Tourism College, the food festival will give festival goers the opportunity to experience the very best in Omani cuisine with both in courtyard dining and takeaway meals on offer.
At The Wave, Muscat there will be two days of Traditional boat racing on the 9 and 10 February. Traditional boat races began as a way for sailors to meet and visit one another’s dhows when they arrived at large ports.
The enthusiasm witnessed over the first two editions of the Tour of Oman has once again set the scene for 128 of the world’s greatest cyclists to return to take on the challenges of Oman’s dramatic landscape over six days from 14-19 February, covering a total distance of 875 km. Organised in association with the legendary Eddy Merckx and Amaury Sport Organisation, names to watch during this race include the British Sprinter and UK Sports Personality of the Year, Mark Cavendish (winner of 21 stages in the Tour de France and the holder of the Tour de France Green Jersey), Fabian Cancellara (winner of the 2012 Tour of Oman, four times Time Trial World Champion, current Olympic gold medallist and twice winner of the Paris-Roubaix) and Andy Schelk, who has been 2nd in the Tour de France three times.
In recognition of the talented designers of the Arab world, the Muscat Fashion Week will continue to put Oman in the spotlight. Taking place between 21 – 23 February in Riyam Park, local Omani designers will be taking their designs to the catwalk alongside other top Arab and South Asian designers. This second Muscat Fashion Week will also present the international community with an outstanding example of the beauty of Arabic influenced fashion.
Further information, photos, videos and program timings can also be found on the website www.muscat-festival.com.
Source = Oman Tourism