A French discovery tour team, which conducted its first Citroen 2CV discovery tour in Oman last week with 30 “Deudeuchs”, is expected to immensely help position the Sultanate as an attractive tourist destination. The Sultanate is a popular tourism destination for French tourists, with 60,000 tourists visited Oman last year, which indicates a robust 21 per cent growth over the previous year. Around 60 drivers and co-drivers, who have driven these 30 Citroen 2CV cars to travel more than 3,000 kilometres in the Sultanate, had a good time to discover Oman in a very special way.
The team had an opportunity to see the natural beauty, while having lots of adventures and surprises surrounded by the extraordinary welcome of Omanis throughout the discovery trip between March 26 and April 4.
“We had an opportunity to visit Oman’s beautiful beaches, mountains, wadis and deserts,” said a member of the French team, which was using popular Citroen 2CV classic car models that date back to 1970s for the trip.
“It was really a fascinating experience, enjoying the site seeing of attractive places — wadis, deserts and mountains — as well as meeting people, especially in villages,” added another team member.
Oman is now emerging as a popular tourist destination for French tourists, with visitors from France rising year after year. “Almost 60,000 French tourists visited Oman in 2018, showing a marked growth of 21 per cent over the previous year,” said Rania Khodr, Director at the Oman Tourism Office for France and Swiss Markets. This excludes tourists coming by cruise ships, which are not a priority due to their short one-day stay and low spending in the Sultanate.
Khodr expects to keep the positive image of Oman in French market, which will help to increase tourist arrivals.
Oman has become an attractive tourism destination for people in France, said Renaud Salins. Saying that the bilateral relation between two countries elevated to a new height, he noted, “Oman was the special guest at a book fair conducted in Paris two weeks ago.”
In a move to further increase tourist arrivals from France, Khodr suggested that Oman Air has to increase its flights to France, strengthen marketing and promotional activities highlighting tourist attractions in Oman as well as to strengthen visit of French journalists to the Sultanate and vice-versa. The establishment of additional French hotel chains is also expected to raise inflow of tourists from France.
She said plans are afoot to set up two more French Clubs in Oman, taking the total number of clubs to five. “The important point to mention here is that 70 per cent of these club visitors do take excursions to visit the country and do not stay at the club all the time,” noted Khodr.
In fact, after Brazil, Argentina, China and Morocco, the Citroen 2CV tour team has selected Oman to cross the desert and mountains to live an unforgettable experience in the Sultanate of Oman.
The Citroen 2CV tour team visited Nizwa, Suhar, Al Rustaq and Al Hamra, passing tough terrains of Wadi Bani Awf and several other places, testing both cars and the skill of drivers.
In fact, the Citroen 2CV discovery tour was able to reach the highest level of the mountain in Al Hamra, one of the most beautiful hill stations in Oman.
Both car admirers and general public have appreciated the beauty of classic Citroen 2CV cars, which were on display at Nizwa, Muttrah Fish Market and the Oman Auto Association (OAA) last week. These famous classic cars or Deudeuchs were parked in front of souks and other open spaces for the public to watch and take pictures.
The team members carried up beach clean-up activity as well on the way, as part of their social responsibility.
The discovery tour event was published or telecast by several French media, including France 3 Tv, La Voix du Nord newspaper, which will help to position Oman.
There was also a cultural event to honour the team members and mark the tour, which was conducted in the presence of French Ambassador to Oman last week. The drivers also exhibited their skills on a 4×4 track before the event concluded with an award ceremony. The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Tourism and M&N Tours.