The 3rd Global Geotourism Conference is being held in Muscat, Oman from October 30th to November 1st, 2011. The three-day conference will discuss means of expanding geotourism and disseminating awareness about sustainable tourism, providing insights into the services and infrastructure required to develop geotourism, including geological parks, management and promotion of geotourism destinations. The conference will also furnish specialists in local tourism with a rare opportunity to exchange information with international experts and organizations working in the field of geotourim industry. This type or tourism focuses on unique local landscapes and geological formation, as well as sustaining geological heritage and natural resources. These factors together play a critical role in improving the tourist value of landscapes and other tourist attractions. The conference is attended by various geotourism specialists representing some of the world's leading tourism institutions, such as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Global Geoparks Network.
In his address at the conference, Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah al Khalili, Minister of Tourism of the Sultanate of Oman, said: "Our country is blessed with rich and varied geological nature that gives ample opportunities for research and studies, which enrich the geological expertise worldwide and representing, meantime, a true value-added for the sciences in this field. Also, such rich and varied geological nature leaves the door wide-open for us to develop new touristic products. The Sultanate has already started to utilise these components and natural possibilities for touristic purposes. In this connection, the Ministry of Tourism started to develop Al Hoota Cave as a touristic facet, established an information centre on its heights and started to receive tourists and citizen visitors. The Ministry is currently devoting great efforts to complete the studies and master plans in order to develop a number of other caves in different areas of the Sultanate. Developing these touristic patterns paves the way for the Sultanate to achieve lasting economic and social development that would enable it to diversify the sources of the national income and create job opportunities for young Omanis. Achieving this end shall enable the Sultanate to offer a unique, fruitful and delightful touristic experience for tourists of different classes and moods."