School children first guests at newly opened Al Hoota Cave in Oman
School children were the first to experience the re-opened Al Hoota Cave, as the renovated facility opened its doors to the public.
The students were given a cheerful welcome by the three official mascots of Al Hoota cave- Laith, the Lion, Bu Naseh, the blind fish found in the cave and Laila, the bat.
The schoolchildren visiting on launch day were given a tour of the rich ecosystem and were shown the four fascinating lakes to see if they could spot the intriguing animals who live in the cave such as the “Garra Barreimiae” blind fish and “Rhinopoma Mascatellum”cave bats.
Following the implementation of broad enhancements to the visitor experience at the attraction, the Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) officials and His Excellency Dr. Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Saadi, Governor of Al Dakhiliyah lead the opening ceremony joined by a crowd of officials, guests and excited school children.
Guests were welcomed by traditional Omani music at the reception and were given a tour of the all new visitor center as they discovered the history of the cave at the enhanced interactive geological museum which showcases over 150 items of rock, wood, corals and other unique materials from the surrounding area.
They also had the opportunity to get an exclusive first look at the cave and ride the electric train – the only one of its kind in Oman.
His Excellency Al Saadi, said “I’m very pleased to officially reopen the Al Hoota Cave for visitors to once again come and enjoy this natural wonder. Omran and the Ministry of Tourism have done a fantastic job to make this attraction an even better place for people to come and visit.”
Eng. Khalid Mirza, Director of Projects Development at Omran, said “We thank His Excellency Dr. Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Saadi, Governor of Al Dakhiliyah for officially opening the attraction today. Omran worked exceptionally hard with the Ministry of Tourism to enhance the Al Hoota Cave experience and to be able to welcome the first visitors back is fantastic”.
“But the most striking difference visitors will discover when they come is the renovated visitor centre. It’s now such a first class attraction, and offers guests a complete family day out experience. We’re looking forward to again giving the opportunity for both residents and tourists to come and discover one of Oman’s jewels.” he added.
"It was shut because it was flooded, unfortunately. The electrical systems installed for lighting were not waterproofed so when the water subsided nothing worked. We started refurbishing it about three months ago and one of the first things we did was to waterproof the entire cave," said James Wilson, the Chief Executive Officer of Omran.
"We have our marketing team, full of young Omanis, and we launched the new brand. "
Along with the opening, the new website, featuring the ability to book online and prepay for tickets, was also launched.
The enhanced Al Hoota experience will enable people to get the most from their visit and the ability to plan a visit online means people can book the elements of the visit they want, creating a bespoke experience.