by Oman Sail
The 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre gets underway tomorrow, Monday 4 November. The 'Discover Oman' exhibition pavilion which has travelled all over France and to the UK alongside the Oman Air-Musandam Multi One Design 70 trimaran over the last two racing seasons to raise awareness of the Sultanate of Oman as a tourist destination, has been exceptionally popular at the Transat Jacques Vabre race village this week with thousands of visitors passing through to learn more about the country and what it has to offer.
'We have had a very sophisticated level of visitor this week to the tent,' said Ghaniya Al Maawali, who has been manning the exhibition all week and leading the marketing team on site from Oman, supported by staff from the Ministry of Tourism of Oman in Paris. 'At previous events, the traditional Henna artist, coffee and dates have been the main attraction, but here the information packs about the country have been flying out the door and questions have been very targeted with regards the attractions of the country and what to do while there. Awareness of Oman Air and the direct flight from Paris to Muscat was also high,' she added.
“Discover Oman” exhibition proves a huge success at Transat Jacques Vabre race village in France
The numbers speak volumes. The 10-person 'Discover Oman' team has distributed 900 Oman Air umbrellas – a number that might have a lot to do with the torrents of rain that the low-pressure systems rolling in from the North Atlantic have dropped on Le Havre! A staggering number of people have entered the Visit Oman competition with 3,000 registered so far, on Wednesday, 1,000 people entered the competition in one day. The footfall through the tent is estimated at over 10,000 people – and that is without counting the number of race village visitors on Sunday. The event organisation has a 300,000-visitor target for the week.
The Transat Jaques Vabre 2013. Le Havre - Itajai, Brazil Pictures of the Oman Air Musandam MOD70 skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with co skipper Damian Foxall (IRL). Shown here in the race village prior to the race start.
The team has distributed five kilogrammes of Omani dates, almost 1,000 brochures about the country, 5,000 info packs and goody bags of promotional material, almost 5,000 Oman Air-Musandam posters, 500 caps to children and has used 50 pieces of Henna.
Transat Jacques Vabre race village in France
Her Excellency the Undersecretary of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism and Chairwoman of Oman Sail, Maitha Al Mahrouqi travelled from Oman to visit the team, present the Sultanate of Oman national flag to the Oman Air-Musandam crew and to wish them safe passage and fair winds.
'I have heard so much about this race that I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to come and see it for myself. It is a great honour to be representing the government of Oman and Oman Sail at such an important race.
'Crossing the Atlantic and touching two different continents is very important for us particularly as both France and Brasil are key markets. Flying the Sultanate of Oman’s flag throughout the race and having Oman’s national carrier Oman Air represented is an added value for us.
'I was on the boat yesterday hearing the sailors’ stories and their thoughts on the race, I really wish them the best of luck. I know they are very passionate about what they do and we are really happy and proud to have them onboard and racing under the flag of Oman. I wish them both the very best of luck.'
“Discover Oman” exhibition
David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail, was also on site in Le Havre to wish Damian Foxall and Sidney Gavignet fair winds. 'The Transat Jacques Vabre is a milestone for Oman Sail. It’s an iconic event and very popular with the French public, which is important for us as France is a key market for Oman, as is Brasil although more from a trade perspective. We are absolutely delighted to have a presence here,' he said.
The start of the 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre was delayed from Sunday to Monday 4 November due to bad weather and gale force winds sweeping up the English Channel from the Atlantic. The start is scheduled at 14:15 CET on Monday. Oman Air-Musandam will race a 20nm prologue and return to the dock with a re-start scheduled for Wednesday 6 November at 13:00 CET.