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Sultanate of Oman's Ministry of Tourism launches new upgraded e-portal
Source: http://main.omanobserver.om/node/20554
Source Date: Sunday, August 22, 2010
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Oman (Sultanate of)
Created: Oct 04, 2010

Dr Rajha bint Abdulameer bin Ali, Minister of Tourism, officially launched an upgraded experimental version of the e-tourism portal for the Sultanate of Oman on the link www.omantourism.gov.om, after a successful test period, which included many studies and recommendations conducted by the Ministry of Tourism.
The Minister said, “The portal has been designed in accordance with the latest electronic international standards. The updated version is the first electronic version using the Omani Marketing Identity in the Sultanate, and offers concise information for tourists and highlights of major tourism events and activities. In addition, the portal conveys the beauty of tourist attractions in the Sultanate through images and video segments concomitant in keeping with global standards in terms of size, download speed and quality.”
Dr Rajha added: “The portal has been established after a comprehensive study on tourism in Oman in co-ordination with tourism sub-sectors. A large number of representatives from hotel and travel agencies, as well as relevant development companies, participated in the project to insure accessibility of essential information to all tourists.”
In addition, Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Ali al Sinani, Director General of Planning, Follow up and Information, and Chairman of the e-tourism portal project committee of the Ministry of Tourism, clarified that the portal’s electronic structure aims to highlight Omani tourism attractions and the various ways of accessing them.
Moreover, it meets tourists’ needs upon arrival and facilitates their online navigation, whether by attractions such as mountains, valleys, forts and castles, or by their location in the different governorates and regions, in addition to events and activities.
“The portal has been developed using Portal Technology, provided by IBM Company and approved by the Sultanate’s Information Technology Authority (ITA) within the integrated development plan of the Oman Digital Portal towards an Oman digital society.
The ministry has developed the project in co-operation with IBM Company, which carried out testing and reviewing of the developed work to guarantee that results are based on best practices,” said al Sinani.
While Bashar al Kilani, Executive Director of the Business Unit in the software group of IBM Company, Middle East, said, “The IBM’s WebSphere Portal presents straightforward results for users of the portal. In co-operation with the Ministry of Tourism, we have managed to apply these developed results in the Sultanate. The main role of the Company is to implement, review and improve portal network results of the ministry in Oman. We are certain that these results will increase the user interaction with the portal and boost Oman’s tourism industry, as the use of Internet for social networking and business has significantly increased in the Sultanate, the region and the world.”
To insure more interaction with users, special pages of the portal have been set up in diverse web groups and communities such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Blogger. These pages have been linked to the e-tourism portal so that users can directly visit the portal for more information and connect to the pages of the portal as well.
Another significant element in the portal is a selection of photos that reflects local sightseeing experiences and provides photographers with a chance to display their images worldwide.
Ministry officials held numerous meetings illustrating the mechanism of free-of-charge registration with the Company’s representatives, which were also attended by the Sultanate’s hotel representatives.
Local hotel establishments can benefit from the registration opportunity by promoting their services through the ministry portal and company websites which have been established for the main purpose of enlarging the Omani tourism industry. Currently, the ministry is planning to provide trips and adventures selling services through the portal in co-operation with travel and tour agencies in Oman.
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