As we celebrate the 49th Oman National Day, we highlight some of the greatest achievements of the Sultanate under His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, and find out how his vision continues to fast-track our nation’s progress on a global stage.
One dream. One land. One nation.
It’s one of the greatest modern tales scripted in the Arab world. A nation that gives to its people – both citizens and expats alike – an equal space for sustenance, a land to call home and, above all, a nation where peace, harmony, and unity lead the way.
And it’s the efforts of one man – His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said – that has led to the creation of the Sultanate of Oman that we know and love today.
Forty-nine years have passed since the promise was made – on a cool winter’s day on November 18 in 1970 – with the world looking on to a new era for Oman as our beloved Sultan took over as the ruler of the nation.
What ensued is nothing short of the promises made.
Even as we mark another National Day in Oman, peace prevails; and the glue that holds the nation together continues to help grow the country as it powers through the highway to development.
And development it has seen over the last 49 years – be it in the field of human rights, economy, religious tolerance, political openness, health, hospitality, and many other sectors.
Take for instance, the Majlis A’Shura elections that took place over the last week on October 27. Pegged the ‘most technologically-advanced’ elections in the GCC, the polls brought votes from over 700,000 Omanis – some of whom who were even residing outside of the Sultanate.
Sulaiman al Hajri, founder of a steel manufacturing plant of 35 years in Rusayl says: “When Oman puts its mind into achieving something, the country puts its heart and soul into doing what must be done.
“That’s one of the greatest features about the country. It sets goals for itself and works really hard to reach the target.”
Take for instance the Sultanate’s transportation sector, which was headlined by the Oman National Transport Company (ONTC). Only five years ago, it embarked on a mission to revolutionise the nation’s public transport system.
Today, residents can hop onto a Mwasalat bus and ride it from Ruwi to Seeb, or even take a trip to Dubai in comfort – and all these advancements came to the Sultanate in just over two years’ time.
This is echoed by Ali al Barwani, the strategic planning manager for Oman LNG, in an interview with Y. He tells us: “Steadfast determination and a strong urge to develop themselves is what drives the Sultanate forward.
“If you look at all the real achievements of Oman, you’ll notice that they all come after the ascension of His Majesty as the Sultan. That is truly a testament to what he has brought upon this beautiful country and its people.
“His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said made a promise to the people of this country. And today, we reap the rewards of that. Of course, there’s also a collective commitment between the people of this nation to come together, join hands, and create a modern environment where the name of Oman is kept first.”
One example of that would be when the Sultanate came together for the trial runs of the new Muscat International Airport in Seeb in 2017.
More than 17,000 people took part in the pre-opening trial of the airport and, more importantly, helped the management iron out any folds in an otherwise class-leading airport in the GCC.
Jhanvi Kaur, 26, an Indian expat based in Muscat narrates her experience at the trial run of the new Muscat International Airport. She says: “Omani hospitality begins when you walk out of the flight and into the airport. And while we had no doubts about its success as a new [facility], we got a taste of it before it even opened its gates to the public.
“Everything about the airport is modern and an architectural masterpiece,” she adds. “Even through its initial stages, we noticed how airport management was open to understanding the little things it could do to make the experience a flawless one.”
As India-based international travel vlogger Sohel Ahmed Khan who reviews airports around the world wrote in his YouTube video: “If you appreciate tiny details, you will appreciate this airport,” citing the use of natural lighting and designer lights at different locations around the airport.
Transportation aside, Oman has also made huge leaps and strides in transforming its economy from one reliant on oil, to a more knowledge-based one…and both the Ministry of Higher Education and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) are taking the first step by molding the students of the nation.
Earlier this year, the PDO organised an event titled, ‘Knowledge Management: Towards a Knowledge-based Economy’, that was held in a bid to create awareness on the importance of moving towards a stronger economy that revolves around creating goods and services in the most streamlined way, using a skilled workforce.
Falling under the agenda of the Oman Vision 2040, it debated on the importance of taking advantage of current resources and helping it shape the economy of the nation.
At the conference, PDO’s External Affairs and Value Creation Director, Abdul-Amir bin Abdul-Hussein al Ajmi was quoted by national media as saying: “We believe there are major opportunities for Oman to take advantage of Knowledge Management and to prepare us for the future knowledge-based economy outlined in the 2040 vision.”
Omar al Balushi, 79, a retired businessman of a used cars showroom in Oman is vocal about how life has changed since His Majesty ascended as the ruler of the nation. “The National Day of Oman is a day that is of great importance to us Omanis. It is the official birthday of our beloved His Majesty the Sultan.
“Before him, life was very different in Oman. And while that has been touched upon plenty of times before, I would just like to add that this country is where it is today because of the vision of His Majesty.
“We’re progressing towards becoming one of the most prosperous nations in the region, and through every step of the way, His Majesty is alongside us…holding our hand and walking us like a father would walk his children. It’s dedication of the highest order.
“Long live His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. Long live the people of this country.”