(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Travelex Oman Tourism Ambassador Awards 2013 announced on Wednesday saw winners in 12 categories, recognised for their role in making Oman a sought-after tourism destination.
The awards ceremony was held under the auspices of H E Maitha bint Saif al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) at Bait al Nahdah of Bait al Zubair Museum.
The categories were Gold award (overall winner), Best Customer Service, Young Ambassador of the Year, Start-up Tourism Ambassador, Tourism Ambassador for Muscat, Tourism Ambassador for Dakhliyah/Sharqiyah, Tourism Ambassador for Batinah/Musandam, Tourism Ambassador for Dhofar, Tourism Ambassador for Heritage and Culture, Best Tourist Accommodation and the Best Tour Operator/Attraction. Hamed al Rashdi of Juweira Boutique Hotel, Salalah was named the Best Regional Tourism Ambassador for Dhofar for exceptional commitment towards his job in the hospitality sector. ''I started off as a waiter in the year 2000 and now, in 2013, I am a hotel manager. I was selected for this award based on guest comments I guess. Customer satisfaction is my first priority,''
The Best Tourism Ambassador for Batinah/Musandam went to Iman al Salti of the Zaree programme in Musandam. The Zaree programme is an all-women team that provides tour packages exclusively for women visiting Khasab. ''No sooner do international visitors land on Omani soil, my team gives them a taste of the local culture by offering them Omani coffee, dates, food, traditional clothes and henna on the hand. We also bring in Omani bands to entertain our visitors with music and dance.'' Hamal al Hattaly of Sunrise Resort in the Al Hajar mountains walked away with two awards - the Best Tourism Accommodation award and the main trophy, which was for the Gold Tourism Ambassador. Clara Zawawi of Ocean Blue International carried home the Best Tourism Ambassador for Muscat for the second year running, Humaid al Hajri of Desert Retreat Camp was announced the Best Regional Tourism Ambassador for Dakhliyah and Sharqiyah followed by Maryam al Siyabi of Bait al Zubair Museum who won the Best Young Ambassador Award.
The newly created award for Heritage and Culture Tourism Ambassador Award was presented to Mohammed al Wahaibi of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel with Khalid al Suwaid, who runs the Love at First Bite Restaurant, taking the Best Start-up Tourism Ambassador Award. Mark Tours won the Best Tour Operator Award and Mohammed al Rawahy from Mark Tours got the Best Customer Service Award. The People's Choice category was hotly contested, with Khalid al Suwaid of Love at First Bite taking the inaugural award.
H E Maitha said, ''The awards have been met with a real enthusiasm across the sultanate since they started last year. It is great to learn about the stories of personal achievement, initiative and entrepreneurship of nominees and winners of the Travelex Oman Tourism Ambassador Awards.''
Peter Jackson, Travelex CEO said, ''This event is a great opportunity to honour tourism and hospitality individuals across Oman. The sultanate has a unique offering with its marvellous tourism potential, an amazing blend of diverse natural landscape, rich history, beautiful weather and friendly and welcoming people