In what direction are you aiming to take Oman Sail next?
Following my royal directives appointment as CEO in 2020 and the onset of the pandemic, Oman Sail completed a thorough business review, realigning strategic objectives to ensure robust delivery of the mission assigned, to reignite Oman's maritime eminence. To ensure Oman Sail continues to materially contribute towards the nation's Vision 2040 goals, our community programs and commercial activities are built around key interconnected pillars, with the sport of sailing at the core of our operations. Our success will be benchmarked on country promotion, reduction in government investment, societal impact on the health of the nation, and environmental sustainability, all of which will be underpinned with competency-based development of our 95% Omanized team. The period of restricted activities in 2020 due to the pandemic allowed us to undertake a period of consultation with all staff members at Oman Sail to establish the company's values—team spirit, excellence, trust, and commitment. This process ensured that our staff understand their importance to the success of Oman Sail and the role they will play in delivering our strategic objectives. Our activities will focus on securing continental and world championship sailing events to be hosted in Oman from 2021 onward. These events will deliver direct economic benefits to the nation by attracting hundreds of international attendees to each event, as well as showcasing the natural assets of Oman to international audiences. Of course, our focus remains on producing world-class sailors. In 2021, we will be scouting for local talent to train within our four sailing schools in Sur, Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, Al Mouj, and Mussanah to build on the success we have had to date competing at the highest levels in international sailing.
Your SailFree program is not seen elsewhere in the Middle East. Why did you decide to do it?
We should all be inspired by his Majesty's mandate to take care of everyone within the community, as inclusivity is key to achieve prosperity. Oman Sail has always strongly believed in diversity and inclusion and has taken a leadership position within GCC sport since the inception of our groundbreaking Women's Program in 2011, and in 2018 Oman Sail trained the Oman Special Olympics sailing team who won a gold medal at the Middle East's first ever World Games event in 2019 in Abu Dhabi. Our commitment to inclusion resulted in Oman Sail being awarded in 2019 the World Sailing's President's Development Award. Establishing a Para Sailing program was a natural next step in our evolution. Empowering persons with disabilities with opportunities to sail unlocks their potential and breaks through societal boundaries. We formally launched the SailFree program in December 2019, in partnership with BP Oman and Oman Paralympic Committee. Our goal is to select and form a national para-sailing squad in 2021 that will go on to represent Oman at international sailing regattas, including the 2022 Para Sailing World Championships.
What is your assessment of the current state of Oman as a maritime force and how do you plan to amplify it to its former glory?
Oman Sail has always been ambitious when working to achieve its mission of reigniting Oman's maritime eminence. Our Omani sailors have broken a number of world records and achieved world firsts; for example, sailor Mohsin Al Busaidi was the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world. We have welcomed thousands of international sailors, coaches and their families to the Sultanate through the hosting of international regattas and globally gained an enviable maritime reputation within the sailing world. These ambitions are only growing, and with Oman Sail already contributing to 10 of the 12 principles of Vision 2040, we will further build Oman's reputation as a maritime force through collaborative working with maritime-focused Omani businesses and building further strategic partnerships with private-sector companies both in Oman and internationally.