Nizwa Fort is an enduring symbol of the nation’s cultural antiquity. It represents the glory of a nation that has supported human habitations for one of the longest uninterrupted periods of time. The monument, which is among the most visited historical sites in Oman, showcases the glory of nation’s architecture and preparedness to defend the land. The museum in the fort offers lasting vignettes of a glorious culture that has thrived for centuries. Each exhibit is a window to the past of a people who have conquered the elements to build a modern nation that has made its mark over time. It augurs well for the nation that Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) has taken over the management of the fort and the museum. The Ministry of Heritage and Culture signed an agreement the other day with Omran to manage the premises. This marks the first time the company is venturing into the management of a historically important monument. But its professional expertise will help ensure that the place is run perfectly and with further value addition. The fort represents the nation’s ethnic richness and cultural heritage. Therefore it needs to be handled that much more carefully. The agreement signed between Adviser to the Minister of Heritage and Culture for Heritage Affairs Hassan Al Lawati and Omran Board Member at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture Mohammed Al Mahruqi is expected to ensure that the place becomes one of note in the whole region and beyond.
Al Lawati is perfectly right in reckoning that the agreement will enhance the Sultanate’s tourism industry, stimulating its further growth and contribution to the national economy. The fact that Omran’s expertise will go into the management, marketing and maintenance of the site is of particular importance for raising the monument’s profile in world tourism. Al Mahruqi underscores Omran’s role in bringing about economic diversification by creating new destinations and tourist experiences. “The collaboration marks a new era for one of Oman’s treasured sites, and demonstrates the Sultanate’s commitment to finding innovative ways to promote Oman’s unique tourism offering.” Omran’s business model of engaging SMEs and generating more jobs sits well with the national programme for economic diversification. The fact that Nizwa is a tourist hub with several places of tourist interests located close by will help draw more visitors. Nizwa is a place of extreme cultural significance in the Middle East. Last year Nizwa was declared the Capital of Islamic Culture because of its glorious contributions to the exalted culture of the region. The plaque unveiled by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture at an event graced by HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Salim Al Aghbari, Wali of Nizwa, would help to remind the citizens and residents of the Sultanate of the glorious past of the nation, particularly Nizwa, as a centre of learning. It is true that that the antiquity of Nizwa is evident even for casual visitors to this town of forts and ancient monuments. The souqs laden with traditional wares testify to flourishing culture and tradition. The artisans who create the wares for this souq will definitely benefit immensely from the rising profile of the city as an international tourism destination.