24 January 2011

BGTW in Oman aka #bgtw2oman

Some background detail about the #bgtw2oman tag.

Every year the British Guild of Travel Writers (approx 275 members) holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in a, supposedly(!), alternating destination either in the UK or abroad. Recent AGMs for example have been held in Tenerife, York, Malta, Aviemore, Cyprus, Cyprus,etc.

The event is hosted by the destinations (who year on year tell us they get an 'excellent return on their investment') and usually attracts between 70-100 guild members.

This year we are guests of the Oman Ministry of Tourism and the trip follows a traditional pattern.

The Committee (10 people) go out the day before the main contingent, which is why you got that initial flurry of tweets from me, flying on Sunday evening to arrive in Muscat 7+ hrs later on Monday morning. I would have posted more shots and maybe some video but the system notes say that on some aircraft graphics are blocked to reduce load on the satellite uplink. (which explained why my twitpic & flickr pages kept stalling.

This morning, when we landed we travelled 48 miles up the coast to a brand new resort hotel and complex, the Millennium Resort Mussanah at Al Mussanah - so new it is still having the final tweeks before being opened next month (including the swimming pool, which sadly is not ready yet!)

The resort is unique not only for being the first Millennium in the region but also because it has its own marina, with moorings for local yachtsmen and boat owners, and a full range of watersport actvities including diving and racing Extreme 40 catamarans.

As I write, almost 90 guild members are gathering at Heathrow's terminal 3 to catch the overnight flight, which is being promoted as a possible mile-high tweet-up due to oman Air's online wifi connectivity.

Bright and early in the morning we (the committee will go into the airport to meet our friends emerging blinking off the plane.

They are being thrown in at the deep end. First there is a 2-hour Muscat city tour then they board a high speed ferry to sail up the coast to the Millennium's dock. In the evening there's a drive back into town for receptions and supper at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the Chedi.

Next day is the AGM itself. an all day meeting, during which at Lunch time local travel providers will be meeting and talking to members big.

After is a big gala evening event to celebrate then I and many/most of the others will fly back to the UK, leaving 5 small escorted fam trip groups to separate off and explore the mountains, deserts, coast and culture for another two days.

Meanwhile I'm knackered (and was falling asleep in the meeting this afternoon) so here (above is a pic of the snacks I just found in my room just now (above).

zzzzzzz