Together with Alya Al Hashim of Sultan Qaboos University and Muyasser Khumzari of Omran (Oman Tourism Development Company), Mike Oades led the winning team at this year’s Muscat Youth Summit.
The annual event hosted by Ithraa (Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development) is a five-day residential program that blends social interaction with cultural, economic and entrepreneurial components to create a cohesive experience that promotes cross-cultural youth dialogue and socially responsible leadership.
This year’s theme was The Outdoor Economy and focused on the potential for adventure tourism activities within the southern region of Oman called Salalah in Dhofar. The cohort was split into 7 teams to develop responses to the following topics: Discover Salalah; Oman’s Travel and Tourism; Green Salalah Accommodation; Adventure Tourism Start-up; Salalah Made Art; Slow Food; Salalah Youth Festival.
Our theme was to propose environmentally sustainable tourist accommodation for the region. We drew inspiration from the vernacular architecture of the region that is well adapted to the climate, is energy efficient, utilises local renewable materials and labour. Through research we identified a series of semi abandoned settlements in the area. The principal idea was that if these settlements could be sensitively restored, they had the potential to provide an authentic visitor experience to the area. As a social enterprise this model could enable local communities to create new opportunities based on tourism, generating jobs and a more sustainable local economy. The participants took one town, Mirbat the former capital of Dhofar, as a case study to show how the concept could be implemented. The team was awarded 3000 Omani Riyals as prize money and will be provided with an incubator unit within the Muscat Business Centre for six months, rent free, in order to develop the concept further.
For more information on Muscat Youth Summit follow the link