January 1, 2017

Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre

It's 2017! Happy New Year to us all!

More than a month has passed since I came back from Oman, when I attended the momentous launch of Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront. It was one of my most unforgettable moments as an expat here in the Middle East. It's one thing that doesn't happen everyday. And until now, the experience hasn't left me. I still cannot believe I went there alone. Or that I was able to interact with strangers who turned out to be some of the friendliest people I know.

I wanted to post the other places I've been to after the launch, but I decided it would be best to present my experience and the places chronologically — except for the Plaza Premium Lounge in Muscat International Airport — which I will tell you about on my last post about Oman.

Prior to the launch, a Media Roundtable was held at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC). I admit I've attended events for bloggers before. And back in the Philippines, I've handled and attended media events as part of the creative team for marketing and communications departments of companies. So having experienced being on both sides of promotional campaigns, I already have an idea how this will turn out. But this is different. This is so much bigger than what I've been to! And this is my first official press trip!

And of course, as expected, the blogger in me — the part that always gets excited when something new happens  — got so fascinated when I entered and set foot on this huge exhibition center! It was really HUGE. If only I can stay longer to explore, but I had a meeting to attend.

After a brief introduction of the Omran Management Team, details of the waterfront project were disclosed and a short video presentation of Madinat Al Irfan, another development project of Omran, was played on the screen.

The Q&A followed the quick presentation. And before I tell you about the questions, let me tell you first that there were only two bloggers on this media event and it was during this part that I, and some PR staff, realized that bloggers like me should have had another type of itinerary before the launch. But I didn't mind because I love attending meetings! Or so I thought.

While most media attendees were from Muscat Daily, Construction Weekly, Times of Oman and other big names in news and publishing in the Middle East, I didn't feel intimidated because people from Omran were warm enough to welcome us. But as details of the project were presented and questions were thrown, I realized that most of them were too technical and too mathematical for a blogger like me! How in the world would I understand shares and investments from private sectors? How will I relate sustainability with economic gains? But I stayed and listened. I lingered and savored the moment, which may not happen again in years.

When they told us that a media kit containing all the details of MSQ Waterfront Phase One will be given or emailed later, I decided it was time to excuse myself and check out the lobby of the OCEC. It wasn't in our itinerary to explore the convention center to our liking so I didn't get the chance to take enough pictures. These images from OCEC website might help you in visualizing just how huge and state-of-the-art this exhibition center is. It has a 3,200 seater auditorium, 14 meeting rooms, 2 ballrooms and column-free exhibition halls.

The media meeting was cut short for reasons I didn't mind, and after a sumptuous lunch in Chocolate Lounge, we were taken to the hotel to rest and get ready for the MSQ Waterfront launch in the evening.

Visit Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre here for image gallery, location and contact details.

*images with OCEC logo are properties of OCEC

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