Oman – “a thousand sips of coffee”
The Sulanate of Oman, is an Arab country on the south east coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It holds a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is bordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The country has a population of around 3.6 million and the capital is Muscat.
Oman’s economy is dependent on oil exports. Agriculture produces dates, limes, grains, and vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under cultivation, Oman is likely to remain a net importer of food. It has made active plans to diversify its economy and is placing a greater emphasis on other areas of industry, namely tourism and infrastructure. Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in Oman.
Virtually all native Omanis are Muslim and business culture is extremely conservative. It is common to hire a local agent to act as an intermediary, who can arrange appointments and make the appropriate introductions. Since Omanis prefer to do business with those with whom they have a personal relationship, a letter of introduction from someone they know facilitates their trust.
Omanis are extremely hospitable and enjoy hosting foreign guests. Good coffee is frequently served accompanied by dates and should be traditionally drunk “in a thousand sips”.
Culturally, men are still widely looked on as bread-winners and providers, and women as homemakers. However, western workers have served as catalysts for an emerging women’s employment culture. As foreign women have continued to arrive in Oman, opportunities have arisen in hotel management and the airline industry – not to mention traditionally male-dominated realms such as business management and advertising.
Increasingly, Omani women are looked upon as a hard-working, capable, and (unfortunately) cheap alternative to male employees. Most Omani women are paid far less than male employees, even if they possess equal (or in some cases even greater) skills and experience. In order for a women to have any chance of advancing in the workplace, she will need full and public support from her male relatives.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Kwintessential