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The Oman Conference, A Call to Action, President's message, Images of Oman
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From the Editor
This special 'Emergency Edition' ISCA Newsletter is a Call To Action for all those members who have been considering attending the upcoming Conference in amazing Oman, but who have not yet booked. You need to act now! Although a great many members have expressed their interest and their intention to attend the Conference, our hard working hosts in Oman have not yet received the expected number of bookings and time is now running short.
Please read the information below provided by our President, and please send those confirmations in as soon as possible. The opportunities to meet and to share our experiences face to face whilst enjoying the enriching experience of travel remains one of the greatest things about ISCA.
I was pleased to notice in the news this week that the World Economic Forum has just released its list of the safest countries in which to travel for 2016, and Oman was again in 9th place!
All booking details are here - so BOOK NOW. Immediately book your place for the Conference by completing the registration form  
http://touroman.om/iscac-meeting/ and booking your hotel room http://askvacations.com/iscac.php#
These Booking forms have been updated, and can also be printed and filled out.
Dan Cove
Majlis al Jinn, which translates to “Meeting Place of the Spirits”, is one of the world's ten largest cave chambers. It is situated in Oman, southeast of Muscat, and is notable for its isolated and relatively inaccessible location. The only entrances to Majlis al Jinn are small openings formed by rainwater erosion atop the remote Selma Plateau, which forms the peak of the cave’s magnificent freestanding domed roof. The sheer size of the chamber, when contrasted with its unassuming exterior, renders it a unique natural wonder.

            Message from the President                                                                                                                   

Dear ISCA Members,
 
The 2016 ISCA Conference in Oman is almost upon us.  Our hosts have organized what will be a wonderful and unforgettable experience for us and it will be a great opportunity to network with fellow show cave managers. The conference is November 6-13th and we are rapidly approaching the deadline to register, book hotel rooms, flights and acquire visas. 

Many members have responded to our surveys, saying they plan to attend the conference but currently our hosts have not received enough registrations for the conference to be economically viable.  We are trying to determine if we will have enough attendees to hold the conference.  We currently have 24 people registered and the minimum to hold the conference is 30.  Even with an attendance in the 30’s we can have a wonderful conference, experience Oman, network and enjoy each other’s company in a more personal atmosphere that the smaller attendance provides. 

If you plan to attend I ask that you register and book your hotels immediately.  When invoiced, please also pay your fees.  Our hosts have assured us that if the conference is canceled, they will fully reimburse everyone.  Your registration and payment will help us determine if we have enough attendees confirmed to hold the conference. 

Our deadline is this Friday, October 14th to determine if the conference will take place or not.  The good news is that registrations are coming in each day and the number of attendees is growing so I think it is very likely we will reach and exceed the minimum number of 30 attendees.  Please help by completing your registration and hotel booking forms immediately!   

Regarding flights.  I recommend that you book refundable or transferable airfare.  Or if you will be purchasing non-refundable airfare, consider waiting until Saturday, October 15th when I can inform everyone if we have enough attendees to formally hold the conference. 

The online registration links our hosts have provided are the easiest way to register and book your hotels.  From the hotel booking form, you will find a link on the right side of the page to a list of the hotel options and their prices.  Simply fill out the forms online and hit the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the page.  Tour Oman will send you a confirmation email shortly after, followed by an invoice with instructions on how to pay the fees.  Be sure to look over your invoice to confirm everything is correct. 
  
Registration form -  http://touroman.om/iscac-meeting/ 
Hotel booking form - http://askvacations.com/iscac.php# 
 
If you have difficulty submitting online you can print the forms, fill them out, scan and email or fax (+968 24661888) to Tour Oman.  Both Sara and Jeevaka with Tour Oman have been extremely helpful and can answer questions you may have and assist with the registration and hotel booking if you need.  Their emails and other contact information is provided below.  They can also advise on the visa process.  Many of you are from countries which Oman does not require a sponsor letter.  If a sponsor letter is required, Sara and Jeevaka will help you with the visa application process.     
 
SARA CHORTANI
OFFICER- EUROPE MARKET
 
TourOman – A division of Travel Point LLC
Travel City | Travel Point | Al Araimi Travel & Cargo LLC
First Floor | Said Plaza | Qurm| Post Box 1694, Muttrah, Postal Code 114, Sultanate of Oman
Direct: +968 24661859 | Tel: +968 4661800| Fax: +968 24661888 | GSM: +968 9804 8274
Email: sarac@tour-oman.com  URL www.travelpoint.om | Click for office location
 
 
Jeevaka Rangedera
Manager - Operations
TourOman – A division of Travel Point LLC
Travel City | Travel Point | Al Araimi Travel & Cargo LLC
First Floor | Said Plaza | Qurm| Post Box 1694, Muttrah, Postal Code 114, Sultanate of Oman
Direct: +968 24661858 | Tel: +968 24661800| Fax: +968 24661888 | GSM: +968 98080754
Email: jeevaka@tour-oman.com   URL www.travelpoint.om | Click for office location

If you have any questions or if we can help you in any way, please let Renata or me know.  I hope to see you in Oman!
 
My best wishes to all of you.  
Blessings,

President
International Show Caves Association
IMAGES OF AMAZING OMAN
The Jebel Akhdar, "the Green Mountain", is part of the Al Hajar Mountains range in Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate of Oman. It is one of Oman’s most spectacular areas. The highest point, Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun), is around 3,000 metres (around 9,800 feet) high.
Wadi Bani Khalid is a wadi about 203 km from MuscatOman. It is the best-known wadi of the Sharqiyah region. Its stream maintains a constant flow of water throughout the year. Large pools of water and boulders are scattered along the course of the wadi. As a geographical area, Wadi Bani Khalid covers a large swathe of low land and mountains.
Caves form some of the interesting features of this wadi. These include Kahf Maqal which is one of the Sultanate's underground chambers. However, reaching this cave takes a lot of effort and visitors should be prepared for the adventure. Springs of water are also common in this wadi. The springs of Ain Hamouda, Ain al Sarooj and Ain Dawwa, among others, are a blessing to the eye as one ventures along the wadis. The village of Badaa is a well-known tourist stop in the valley. The wadi is approx. 270 km from Muscat
The Wahiba Sands is a large desert area just four hours drive from Muscat. Its geography is mixed: in the north are smaller dunes and wide flat areas.
A surprisingly wide array of flora and fauna call the sands home, as do about 3,000 Bedouin, some of whom you will get to meet when you visit the Wahiba. There are also camps to spend the night in the desert, a remarkable experience that starts with a golden sunset, continues with a densely-starred sky and concludes with the soft light of a desert dawn.
There are ninety tower tombs spread around a large area of al-Jaylah in the Wilayat of Sur. The site is unique in its geological diversity as it is the meeting point of several wadis running in different directions: Wadi Shab and Wadi Ṭīwi to the north and Wadi al-Ṭa’iyyīn and Wadi Khabbah to the south.
This glorious piece of modern Islamic architecture was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to mark the 30th year of his reign. Quietly imposing from the outside, the main prayer hall is breathtakingly rich. The Persian carpet alone measures 70m by 60m wide, making it the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world; it took 600 women four years to weave. The mosque can accommodate 20,000 worshippers, including 750 woman in a private prayer hall. 
Bahla Fort comprises the ruins of a typical Omani military fortress, built by the local Banu Nabhan tribe that ruled between the mid-12th and 15th centuries. It is one of four historic fortresses situated at the foot of Jabal Al Akhdar highlands. Its walls and towers were built in adobe, on a sandstone base. The fort became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.

FINAL CONFERENCE PROGRAM

ISCA CONFERENCE, OMAN, 2016
(PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME 27 March 2016)
 
Day 1: 6 Nov 2016, Sunday  
      Arrival Muscat (Muscat International Airport) Airport transfer to conference hotels
Registration  
Board Meeting
(Board Members arrival 5th Nov 2016, Saturday)
Morning & Afternoon, six hours
Dinner: Beit al Luban  
Overnight Muscat  
Day 2: 7 Nov 2016, Monday  
Formal Opening Special Guest (TBC)
Lecture: Introduction to the geology of Oman Geological Society of Oman
Lecture: The wild caves of Oman Andrew Lawrence, Min. of Tourism
Lecture: Adventure tourism in Oman Stephen Jones, Oman Sail
Dinner: Birkat Al Mawz Bedouin style dinner (outdoor)
Overnight Nizwa  
Day 3: 8 Nov 2016, Tuesday  
Al Hoota Cave 850m + 430 stairs or adventure option
Lectures & discussion – Management of show caves ISCA to provide speakers
Nizwa Souk Traditional market
Dinner: Nizwa Fort Oman cultural evening
Overnight Nizwa  
Day 4: 9 Nov 2016, Wednesday 4x4: Nizwa – Wahiba Sands
Lunch at Bedouin house  
Wahiba Sands 30km drive into dune fields
Dinner: 1000 Nights Camp Buffet with singers and dancers
Overnight 1000 Nights Camp Tented desert camp
Day 5: 10 Nov, Thursday 4x4: Wahiba - Sur
Salma Plateau: Majlis al Jinn Cave View entrance only
Salma Plateau: Al Jeela Tombs 1-2 km walk
Dinner at hotel in Sur Venue to be finalised
Overnight Sur  
Day 6: 11 Nov 2016, Friday Coach: Sur area
Wadi Shaab - Water Cavern   6km rough terrain walk & 150m swim
Programme for those unable to manage Wadi Shaab:  
Sur: Fortresses and dhow building yards  
Qalhat: Archaeological site  
Wadi Tiwi 4km walk
Overnight Sur  
Day 7: 12 Nov 2016, Saturday Coach: Sur - Muscat
Falling Star Sinkhole (Hawiyat Najm) 800m walk + optional stairs
Free time (Shopping in Mutrah Souk) +2 hours
Open bus sunset tour Old Muscat & Mutrah The historic quarters of Muscat
Farewell Dinner: Evening Dhow cruise Mutrah harbour
Overnight Muscat  
Day 8: 13 Nov 2016, Sunday  
Departure from Muscat  
 
Pre/Post Conference Tour packages:  
Variety of options through Tour Oman.
See conference website. Note: link will be available at later stage as the website is still being developed.
 

Visit omran.om

Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) drives investment, growth and development of the rapidly growing tourism and real-estate sectors in the Sultanate of Oman. We are master developers of major real estate & tourism, heritage and urban developments, delivering some of nation’s most iconic destinations. Our projects create unique experiences that benefit the social and economic growth of the Sultanate.Omran has a diverse portfolio of developments, hospitality assets and joint ventures that span across the Sultanate and contribute to growing the capacity of the Oman’s tourism sector. Our key projects include Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre; a 7.4 million sqm mixed-use development designed to the best international standards in urban planning and strategically linked to the nearby Muscat International Airport and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre; the Sultanate’s upcoming flagship business centre. Madinat Al Irfan will generate significant inbound revenues, and through Public Private Partnerships will increase capital retention within the local economy.Omran is also the master developers of Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront that is set to be one of the top waterfront destinations in the region. The project is centered around the timeless scenery of Muttrah's historic port, fort and mountains. The first phase of the waterfront will be delivered in time for the upcoming global events in the region such as Expo 2020 and the FIFA 2022 World Cup. It will consist of various hospitality, lifestyle, and entertainment, cultural zones as well as residential units that will redefine the experience of Muscat and provide investors with a significant opportunity to participate in a unique and unparalleled marketplace offering.We develop relationships that create solid foundations for future economic diversification and prosperity of Oman, as well as providing outstanding long-term investment opportunities for private and public sector companies. Omran’s proven track record of delivering tourism projects to world-class standards is an outcome of our commitment to integrity, transparency and collaboration. By working in partnership with local communities and embracing the unique aspects of Oman’s culture and heritage, we built sustainability into every project while safeguarding the natural beauty of the country for the future generations.

ISCA Calendar

6-12 November 2016

ISCA Conference: Al Hoota Cave, Oman

15-18 November 2016

IAAPA 2016: Orlando Florida, USA

July 2017

17th UIS Congress: Sydney, Australia

October 2018

8th Congress of ISCA: Frasassi Cave, Genga, Italy

Main Contributors


Brad Wuest
ISCA President
 
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Email
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Copyright © 2016 International Show Cave Association, All rights reserved.


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