A Nation Embracing Tomorrow – Aired May 2007

In a region surrounded by oases of oil, Oman is a country of stunning beauty.

Historically one of the Gulf’s more traditional countries, Oman has begun a dynamic process of modernization that has made the international business community take notice.

Now that Asian movers and shakers have started to appreciate the country’s business and leisure attractions, Oman is now ready and open for investment.

What does this Gulf state have to offer?

Can a country with no oil set the stage for a natural-resource driven economy?

What do locals and expatriates alike have to say about developments in business and tourism?

Join Asia Business Channel as we explore the breathtaking Sultanate of OMAN!

Welcome to Oman the Cradle of humanity… a nation embracing tomorrow…

This tiny gulf state is located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, occupying the south-east corner. As the world’s easternmost Arabian country Oman has a strategically important position at the mouth of the Gulf.
It is the oldest independent state in the Arab world, and it was greatly isolated for a long time. But does that mean that its society didn’t change?

After deposing his father in 1970, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said opened up the country. As absolute ruler he embarked on economic reforms and boosted spending on health, education and welfare.

Muscat is the capital of Oman; a cosmopolitan, but relaxed city, free from the hustle and bustle found in many of Arabia’s other capital cities. It offers a wide range of social and recreational activities for its multicultural population.

When looking at the economy in Oman, there is no place more appropriate to start than the energy sector. Oil and gas were the lifeblood on which this vibrant Sultanate’s development was based.

While making history, not just in the region but the world market for liquefied natural gas, Oman LNG is an integral part of Oman’s ‘2020’ vision. This surrounds the framework of promoting sustainable development in a way that is truly in touch with the world’s most developed mindsets. Oman is also profiting from the evolution in the global oil market.

The oil sector doesn’t close its eyes for the society it is working in, on the contrary. While taking care of the environment and meeting the needs of a more aware consumer, the benefits to the local people will also be significant.

It is fair to say that Oman is building a platform for development of the energy sector as well as taking into account the development of the country.
My Oman. A personal look at what makes Oman special to the people that live there.

Increasing oil prices since 2001 have led the Sultanate to enjoy remarkable growth in the current decade along with three consecutive years of budget surpluses.
Most pertinent; there has been pulsating activity in recent times for the financial sector!

The CBO has been urging local banks to enhance their financial position and introduce new international accounting standards and corporate governance principles to reduce fraud and malpractices.

In a strike to meet an opening sector local banks are now adopting high-tech banking and smart card technology in a big way. This is with a view to keep themselves ready and strong to cope with overseas competition.

The new breed of online banks from Europe and America pose potential challenge to local banks.
The banks also perceive increased competition from the strong GCC banks after the creation of the impending GCC common market. But they are fully prepared.

The developments in the banking sector are a microcosm for the economy as a whole.
Open and very optimistic, the compounding effect of decent growth rates reported by most of the companies is driving forward an assenting impact on the market.

Investors who seek stable gains along with a good dividend yield should consider investing in the Omani market. The Central Bank of Oman is doing all it can to guarantee a secure financial environment.

To help further fast track modernization, the government is focused on building and carrying-on a non-oil dependent economy. There are a lot of possibilities to diversify.

As one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East the Omani government has worked at creating the right climate for new investments. They have developed a free, competitive economy with equal opportunities for all, and shaped laws and regulations to encourage enterprise. In this way, the country can profit better of the various assets it has.

Oman is a chameleon of a country, whatever you want it to be, it will become. If you are seeking a modern country, you will spot its up to date infrastructure facilities and it’s cosmopolitan shopping malls.
If you are seeking antiquity and tradition, you will observe ancient trading towns and smell the aroma of frankincense.

Oman offers residents endless ways to relax. With a 1700 km long coastline, many unspoiled beaches invite exploration.
The possibilities of outdoor activity are vast in a country with such a varied scenery as Oman. It extends the same dedication, from industrial development to the preservation of its natural wealth.

Which sights and attractions are not to be missed by visitors to Oman?
We asked around and this is Asia Business Channel’s Top Five.
Let’s start with Nizwa Fort, our number five. With a view on the thick walls and great towers, go back centuries in Oman’s history, and try to imagine events of all kinds.

At number four are the Wahiba sands. Enjoy the high dunes and drive as fast as you can… slow down and meet the Bedouins in their traditional way of living.

The dry river beds and the beautiful oasis of Wadi Bin Khaled are worth a ranking number three.
The Souk of Muscat cannot be omitted of our list. It deserves a second place, if only because many call it the best bazaar of the Arabic world.

And finally the number one tourist experience: dolphin watching along the Omani coastline. Be patient, and try to spot one of the 21 different species of dolphins and whales living here. It’s worth the entire journey.

Desert to sea, mountain range to lush plains……vibrant economy to social conscientiousness. Oman is the hidden jewel in a region of dynamism

The only question left to be answered is; When are you going to join in reaping the fruits of optimism that the cradle of humanity is opening for the future.