Muscat: Big Bus Tours, the largest operator of open top sightseeing tours in the world, and Travel Point, Oman's single largest travel company, have brought the Big Bus Tours into Muscat.
The operation of these buses was flagged off by Maitha Saif Majid Al Mahrouqi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, who was the chief guest at the launch which took place at the Royal Opera House Muscat, on December 5.
The city witnessed a magnificent convoy of the open top double decker buses taking the esteemed guests on the first big bus ride lead by an authentic Omani band and the Royal Oman Police. Several dignitaries which included ministers; Royal Oman Police officials; ambassadors; chairmen and board members of several corporate; financial and banking institutions and the luminaries of the airline; travel, tours and hotel trade and the media were all part of this inaugural tour.
Commenting on the occasion, Maitha Al Mahrouqi said, "The Ministry of Tourism is working with the government and private sector agencies to ensure the sustainable development of tourism in accordance with Oman's Vision 2020 which sees the tourism sector making a significant contribution to Oman's economy as well as a platform to showcase Oman's rich cultural heritage, protect and enhance environmental values, and build international peace through cultural linkages.
"The objective of introducing the Big Bus Tours in Oman is to endorse the beauty of this country to the people of the world, which is in tune to our objective. We are very happy to introduce Big Bus Tours to Oman, which will elevate Oman's standing as a touristic attraction on the world map, thereby escalating the influx of tourists/visitors to Oman."
"Bringing the Big Bus Tours into Oman, has been a long envisaged dream of Travel Point LLC, which has been realised and appreciated with the support of Government of Oman, Ministry of Tourism, Royal Oman Police and the Big Bus Tours, London. This is definitely one of our major achievements, to provide an unforgettable experience to the tourists and enhance tourism all year round in this beautiful country," said Sunil Prabhakar, CEO, Travel Point LLC.
Guests can get magnificent views from the open top bus along with fun and informative commentary in six languages which include English, Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish, explaining the history and culture of the city. The tour will start at Muttrah Souk and return to Muttrah Corniche, which takes about two hours to complete per circuit and covers 12 stops on the route.
A total of five buses have been brought into Oman, and pass each stop every 20 minutes. The guests can get off at a preferred stop, look or shop around for as long as they want to, and hop into the next bus at the nearest stop and move to the next location.
Mike Lees, general manager, Big Bus Tours, said: "It will provide the growing number of tourists in this destination with a great opportunity to discover the city and its history, with the combination of informative commentary and breathtaking views from atop the buses making this tour an essential part of the Muscat experience."
The seating capacity of each bus is 71 passengers at a time, with some buses having a complete open top facility, and the others having the choice of air conditioning, canopy and an open top. The Big Bus Tours pass is valid for 24 hours from time of purchase and costs RO20 for an adult, RO10 for a child and RO50 for a family of two adults and two kids.
The tour will also provide free headphones and water, free walking tours with guide for those who wish to take it and free shuttle service to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque from Shatti.
St John Cooper, business development director, Big Bus Tours said, "Big Bus intends to deliver a fun day out and a splendid visitor experience to every guest in Oman, in line with the hospitality that the people of Oman are world famous for."