Muscat emerging: Tourism and cultural space

Mohamed El Amrousi, John Biln

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Muscat’s experience of transformation into a modern city has been of an entirely different order from that experienced elsewhere in the Gulf. The Muscat of the 1970s and 1980s was a complex socio-cultural environment and the Muscat of today remains complex in ways not typical of cites such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The novel Warda by Sanallah Ibrahim and the memoir Arabia by Jonathan Raban provide insights into the baseline conditions of Muscat at a time before recent economic pressures propelled a new round of changes in the physical fabric of the city and development of tourist resorts nearby. Under pressure to pursue both heritage preservation and economic development, recent urban transformations in Muscat comprise three basic strategies, each organically linked to the Muscat of previous decades: Recovering the Past, evident in Muscat’s historic core; Phasing Space, as seen in the Grand Mosque of Sultan Qaboos; and Forging Reality, present in a new wave of tourist enclaves along the Oman coast. This article examines these strategies and various efforts to harness Muscat’s complex urban and cultural pasts in order to construct a framework for the fostering of Omani modernity, tourism development, and national identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-266
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Tourism and Cultural Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Cultural tourism
  • Heritage and tourism
  • Urbanism and neo-traditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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