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T HE LEA D ING PUBLICATION FOR M I DDLE E AST MEETING, INCENTI V E & E V ENT PLANNERS W


MAR/APR 2012 — WWW.MEETMIDDLEEAST.COM


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I C 2 022 Your Essential Destination and Meetings Guide SPORTING CHANCE www.meetinoman.com GULF DESTINATIONS ALL IN THE GAME FOR GLOBAL ATTENTION r Essential Destination and Meetings Guide www.meetmiddleeast.com www.meetmiddleeast.com saudi arabia


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ANALYSIS / OMAN ECOTOURISM A


G H A B I GREEN MEETINGS


• Use an online registration system to reduce paper


• Make two-sided copies on any handouts and try to limit speaker handouts


• Use recycled paper or paper from a sustainable timber source where possible


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• Do not hand out a plastic conference bag. If you must have a bag, make sure it is made of recycled materials


• Reuse and recycle name badges, printing name inserts on recycled paper


• Provide water in pitchers or large bottled water stations instead of individual bottles


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• Use cloth instead of paper napkins and cutlery instead of plastic utensils


• Eliminate the use of disposable items, especially Styrofoam


• Choose a hotel and meeting venue that already adheres to green codes of practice


• Make use of the hotel’s linen and towel reuse programme


• Request bulk amenities, make sure consumable amenities are not replaced daily


• Encourage delegates to turn off lights and air-conditioning while not in use


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FEATHERING THE NEST With more than 460 different bird species, Oman is one of the world's top bird-watching destinations. Common species include herons, ospreys, Swift terns, Laughing doves, Egyptian cultures, and Indian Rollers. Qurum Natural Park and Al-Ansab Lagoon are renowned bird-watching sites, as are Musandam in the north of the country and Dhofar in the south. In Muscat, various native species can be seen within the landscaped grounds of the InterContinental Muscat and Al Bustan Palace. Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre offers bird-watching tours


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under the guidance of Hanna and Jens Eriksen, co-authors of the Bird- watching Guide to Oman and world-renowned bird photographers.


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RAS AL JINZ SCIENTIFIC AND VISITORS CENTRE


An exceptionally high number of turtles nest in Oman each year and this natural phenomenon has become a popular tourism attraction with both leisure travellers and corporate incentive groups. However, visitors must ensure that they enjoy this natural spectacle responsibly and the easiest way to ensure this is to go through an established turtle-watching centre.


Positioned on the very eastern tip of Oman, about a four-hour drive south of Muscat, is the isolated bay of Ras Al Jinz. Its beaches are the largest nesting site for green turtles on the Indian Ocean, attracting an average of 30,000 nesting animals a year.


The Ras Al Jinz Scientific and Visitors Centre, located within a 120-square-kilometre nature reserve, is pioneering the concept of eco- tourism in Oman, offering meeting and incen- tive groups a chance to get up close and personal with green sea turtles as they lay their eggs.


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THE GREAT OUTDOORS For small corporate groups wanting to leave the boardroom behind and encounter a true Arabian experience, a night under the stars is a must. Nestled in the golden sands of the Wahiba, just outside Al Wasil, Desert Nights Camp is an initiative from the OHI Group of Companies. The resort offers 32 bespoke units, including 25 tented accom-


modation units complete with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom and cosy terrace area. The camp has been designed so that all the tents open out to panoramic vistas across the golden sands. Facilities include a restaurant, bar and recreational area. While the beds are made up with the finest cotton, Desert


Nights Camp is still a simple lodging option, in keeping with its Bedouin theme. This is not an international five-star hotel in the desert and therein lies its charm. Accommodation is fully air-con- ditioned although there is no spa or swimming pools. Yet who needs manmade facilities when you have the desert


number of tented units at Desert Nights Camp


25


A state-of-the-art ecotourism facility, it also teaches groups about the animals and their nest- ing habits and all funds raised go straight back into the project to fund research and conser- vation activities. "The numbers of turtles are increasing steadily. There are already new nest- ing places that were previously avoided by the turtles. This is a pioneer project – the aim now is to replicate and customise this best practice in other protected areas in Oman," says Ras Al Jinz regional director Pierre Abi-Aoun.


The centre also offers 'nomadic dining' options, enabling corporate groups and tour operators to request outdoor catering or picnics at many of the scenic landscapes of Al Sharqi- yah. "Incentive groups can take advantage of our nomadic dining formula, where they can eat inside or on the rocks, in the desert or beside a wadi. No matter where, we will still provide five- star services," explains Abi-Aoun. Conference facilities are also available onsite for groups of 40 for day meetings, including video conferenc- ing, a library and all necessary infrastructures. "We also have team-building instructors and can provide activities in the area, including trips to Sur and Al Hadd," says Abi-Aoun.


Covering an area of 247 acres, Al-Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve comprises nine islands, featuring pristine beaches, coral reefs and an abundance of sea life


WAHIBA SANDS The Wahiba Sands is an area of dunes 100 kilome- tres wide and 200 kilometres long, running south from the eastern Hajar Mountains to the Arabian Sea. Dunes can tower up to 100 metres tall and their rich mineral content creates a landscape rich in orange, amber, gold and earthy browns. It is estimated that some 3,000 Bedouins have made Wahiba their home and their camps abound. To the west of the Wahiba are the small towns of Rawdah, Samad Ash Shan, Al Akhdar and Lizq. Rawdah and Samad Ash Shan contain ruins and reconstructions of old forts.


NATURE RESERVES The As Saleel Nature Park is located in the Al Kamil and Al Wafi Governorate in the Ash Shar- qiyah Province. The nature park covers an area of 220 square kilometres and features an impressive forest of acacia trees. It is home to a number of rare species including the Arabian gazelle, the Omani wild cat, the red fox, the Egyptian eagle and others. Al-Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve is located


around 18 kilometres off the coast of Barka and is one of the most impressive marine reserves in the Middle East. Covering an area of 247 acres, the reserve comprises nine islands, each featuring pristine beaches, coral reefs and an abundance of sea life. The islands are also home to a large number


before you? Groups can enjoy camel safaris, desert driving in 4X4s, visits to local Bedouin houses, trips in the beautiful Wadi Bani Khalid and souvenir hunting at the local souk. This is authentic Arabia and this authenticity makes it a great location for group incentives.


PRINT MEDIA Your Essential Destination and Meetings Guide


of sea turtles that lay their eggs and nest there, as well as migratory and indigenous birds. In 1984, the islands were officially recognised as an international marine and nature reserve. They are also a magnet for divers and snorkellers, with 22 known diving sites. Wadi Sireen Reserve is located in the eastern


Al Hajar Mountains about 45 kilometres south of Muscat. The area is home to a large number of native animals including the Arabian Tahr and deer. The Arabian Tahr is indigenous to Oman and is a very rare goat-like creature, with a short body, hooked horns and reddish-brown hair. It is one of the smallest of its species in the world. 


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O ANALYSIS / GIBTM


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GIBTM MEANS BUSINESS N D F A H


The very foundations of the GCC’s travel industry are built on the corporate travel sector. The sector is still by far the highest revenue generator compared to meetings and leisure travel (relative fledgling industries in the region) yet, to date, no trade show organiser has successfully, or rather consistently, produced an event that caters to this lucrative market.


D has taken the bull by the horns and declared its intention to make corporate travel a centerpiece at this year’s Gulf Incentive, Business


With a gap for a show catering to the needs of the business travel community, it is no surprise that Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE)


Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from March 26-28. “The business and corporate travel community is an intrinsic part of the meetings industry and has been expanding steadily, so this year we are making business travel a key focus at GIBTM,” explains the show’s new exhibition manager Lois Hall.


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“With the UAE witnessing a five percent increase in air traffic this year and recording the largest number of hotel rooms underway in the Middle East and Africa region, we expect to see even greater growth in the business travel sector.” She adds that business travel has “always been a part of GIBTM. However, with business becoming increasingly global, meetings and events held by corporate companies in the GCC and globally are often organised in other parts of the world, fueling the business travel industry”.


Above: GIBTM 2011 Right: Capital Gate Tower, adjacent to ADNEC


Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition


March 26 to 28


A A E B 42 / MEETME_MARAPR_GIBTM.indd 42 H A Your Essential Destination and Meetings Guide


The burgeoning business travel sector has been declared a major focus at this year’s GIBTM. meetme asks show organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) and the region’s major corporate travel players to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the industry in 2012 and beyond


11/03/2012 11:57


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