Balloon ride to mark Qaboos’ anniversary

MUSCAT — The adventurers in Oman are being offered an opportunity to ride a hot air balloon this week, giving them a chance for the first time to take in the beauty of the country from up above.

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Published: Sun 21 Nov 2010, 9:47 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:16 AM

‘Floating Expressions’, the balloon, is conceived as a celebration of the sultanate’s 40th National Day under the leadership of Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed. and will scale the skies for six days from Tuesday. To be launched from the premises of Lulu Hypermarket in Sohar, it will decorate the skies at different locations, concluding in the CBD Area in Ruwi on November 28.

“This unique event will be filled with fun and excitement. In keeping with the tradition, we conceptualised this highly anticipated, surprising event to project the glory and development of Oman from the beautiful skies of the sultanate,” Mr. Zuhair Al Balushi, Managing Director Golden Hornet, told a news conference here. Floating Expressions is a joint initiative of Golden Hornet and the National Bank of Oman (NBO).

“It will be an opportunity to experience the thrill of watching a colourful hot air balloon majestically rise from green pastures into the blue sky. The adventurers can buy tickets, hop on board and actually enjoy the ride,” Balushi said.

CKC to start functioning

A Community Knowledge Centre (CKC) that aims to train citizens on computer and Internet basics will soon start functioning in the wilayat of Al Amerat in the Muscat governorate.

It is being set up as part of the Community IT Training project developed by the Information Technology Authority (ITA) that seeks to establish CKCs in various governorates and regions of the sultanate.

“Establishing a CKC in Al Amerat will help the community gain more knowledge about IT and, this in turn, will help transform the Sultanate of Oman into a more modern society,” Shaikh Mohanna Saif Hamad Al Mawaly, the wali of Amerat, said at a ceremony to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the centre. “We hope many will benefit from this project. And we will get good results if people cooperate and participate. We encourage everyone to join the training,” he added.

ITA plans to soon complete the establishment of CKCs in six other wilayats – Khabourah, Bidiya, Nizwa, and Khasab – in partnership with the local authorities.

“This MoU represents the continuity of ITA’s Community IT Training Project, aiming at creating CKCs in various wilayats of the sultanate following a specific phased plan designed by the ITA and whose first phase has already been completed,” Dr. Salem Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, said. Centres set up earlier in Muscat, Salalah, Sur and Sohar, he added, had contributed “effectively towards helping to bridge the gap of digital illiteracy among various segments of society. Such an achievement will help to promote the presence of information technology in our daily lives.”

The new centre, Ruzaiqi explained, aimed to train the citizens of Al Amerat on computer and Internet basics, enhance their skills and raise IT performance level, as well as qualify four instructors from among the local youth.


Jabel Akhdhar, Oman’s green mountain and an immensely popular tourism destination, attracted nearly 45,000 visitors in the first seven months of the year, official statistics indicate.

Citizens and residents accounted for 19,383 of the total, with Gulf and international visitors making up the rest. The highest number of holidaymakers came in July (16,265), followed by June (7,493), April (5,161) and May (4,681).

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