Celebrations are in order for the Sultanate of Oman. Not only is the destination celebrating the 45th Anniversary of its Renaissance and evolution of the tourism industry but on the first day of WTM Travel Bulletin presented her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi with the award for Star Middle East Tourist Office as voted for by UK travel agents.

On receiving the accolade, the undersecretary of the ministry of tourism said: “This is a great achievement and the appreciation of travel agencies is really putting us on track to reach our objective. With all the new technologies and progressions in the travel industry, having the support of travel partners is still so very important to us. This award is representative of the many years of hard work and co-operation we’ve dedicated to building a platform for tourism in the UK market.”

Emphasising the deep ties between the two nations, key news and developments in Oman feed into the region’s adventure, accessibility and authenticity. The sultanate recently played host to the Wind Surfing World Championships and the destination will soon see the Championship of Laser Sailing for women, with British explorer Mark Evans leading a team of Omani’s in crossing Arabia’s Rub Al Khali desert as a part of the anniversary celebrations.

In air news, Oman Air has received its first of six Dreamliner aircraft with plans to increase its frequency to some key destinations in Europe. In the UK seven flights operate a week (once daily), but her Excellency also noted: “We're working hard with the state borders and authorities between the two countries to see if we can get an extra slot into the UK. There's always a flight that can get you to Oman within a span of less than nine hours and we can guarantee that.”

In reference to figures from Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information revealing a rise in the number of British tourists visiting the sultanate between January and August this year, her excellency Mahrouqi elaborated: “We definitely have the product for the British market - we have the coastline, we have the nature, we have the culture and many of the British visitors love the heritage. It's an authentic destination and if we look into what British tourists want, they can have it in Oman. Beauty has an address and that address is Oman.”

Throughout WTM the ministry is running a competition to name the new Omani dolls and is offering visitors the chance to win an iPad mini. For a chance to win, agents need to leave their business card at stand ME500 and share a selfie with the dolls mentioning @oman_tourism_uk and #OmaniDolls to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on Twitter on November 9.

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