SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
Oman has been a destination for film shootings from India for quite sometime now, however these movies have mostly been from south and east India. For the very first time the ministry of tourism, Sultanate of Oman is actively looking at promoting the destination in India following the shooting of a small part of ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara’ in the country. “They were looking at a Middle Eastern destination that is a good mix of contemporary and classic. Oman fit the script very well. This is the first step taken to associate with the film fraternity,” stated Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, ministry of tourism, Sultanate of Oman.
Oman with its stunning fjords and mountains, beautiful coastline and underwater world, quaint cities and good infrastructure is an attractive location for movies. Along with this is the short distance from India. Pointing out that the country has a unique topography that is not found anywhere else in the region, Sheerazi stated that Oman is not a mass product, “Our strategy focuses on targeting selective target audience, from which city should we start our marketing campaign, because India is a large country and we need to have that focus. We were very clear that we would target Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. For several reasons – outbound is big from these cities and this is where the evolved travellers are. There is a lot of travel happening from tier II cities also, but year one and year two was definitely not the time when we wanted to go to these locations. At the same time we realised that it is important to create awareness and visibility across the country. Bollywood is a good way to at least create some kind of a presence and visibility for a brand. We incorporated that in our strategy and we were looking at a partner from the industry with whom we could associate and create a visibility for the destination.”
At the moment the ministry of tourism is promoting Muscat and the areas surrounding it. There is Nizwa, which is a cultural capital of the country and a great location for mountain experience. Wahiba Sands is about 200 km from there with good accommodation options ranging from luxury to tented rustic experience. Ras al-Jinz is a protected site for turtle nesting. Then there is Salalah in the south – the only location in the Middle East that receives the Indian Ocean monsoon. There are many resorts there with others coming up.