Final touches were still being given to the various sites yesterday on the eve of the 26-day Muscat Festival that kicks off on Monday.
The main festival venue, Qurum Nature Park, which suffered extensive damage due to tropical cyclone Gonu in June last year, will be opened to the public for the first time on Monday when Dr Yahya Bin Mahfoudh Al Mantheri, Chairman of Majlis Addawla, flags off the ninth edition of the Muscat Festival.
"The opening ceremony will feature an operetta on tourism," Khaleel Al Balushi, Deputy Director of Information Department at Muscat Municipality, told Gulf News on Sunday.
He added that besides Omanis, artistes from China, Syria, Russia and other countries will take part in the cultural extravaganza in the opening ceremony being held against the backdrop of special effects created by a laser show and fireworks display.
According to the senior Muscat Municipality official, the seven-part operetta during the opening ceremony will unfold a succession of Oman's scenic delights of mountains, beaches, desert, historical attractions, flora and fauna.
"It is all about their unique tourism appeal." The operetta will be repeated for the public for a week from January 22.
"The Qurum Nature Park is ready to host the annual event and there was no panic after rains last week," he said. The lakeside theatre has also been refurbished with the park and Al Balushi said that it can now accommodate more than 2,500 people.
He revealed that the theme of tourism would be highlighted throughout the festival and the national carrier Oman Air will provide special packages to come to Oman. "The package will include ticket, hotel accommodation and visa," he said.
All these years the Muscat Festival has focused on the country's rich heritage and this year it would be no different but Al Balushi pointed out that the Festival is also about entertaining residents of the country along with the visitors.
Last year souqs from different countries were recreated at the Qurum Nature Park. "For the first time, famous Asian markets will be showcased alongside prominent Arabian souqs," he revealed.
Two new venues have been added this year. Al Sahwa Gardens, a new venue, will be open only for families, women and children while the other new venue, Qurum Business District, will have a stage erected in the parking area where daily stage shows and concerts will be held as part of the festival.
Last year, the festival attracted about 2.5 million visitors and Al Balushi expects this number to go much higher as getting visas to Oman is much simpler than last year.