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Long weekend in Oman fuels staycation boom
April 14, 2018 | 9:50 PM
by Times News Service
Rise of hotel occupancy is expected at tourist hotspots such as Barka, Salalah, Khasab and Dibba in Musandam
 
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Muscat: Oman’s three-day weekend for the Isra Wal Miraaj holiday has led to a ‘staycation’ boom. A staycation refers to a holiday spent in one’s country of residence or one spent on day trips to local attractions, rather than abroad.

Many expats and locals are opting to spend their holidays in the Sultanate, instead of going abroad, providing a welcome boost to domestic tourism sector.

Holiday destinations as diverse as Salalah, Khasab and Dibba in Musandam and Barka are seeing an influx of occupancy rates, revenue, and visitors, as more residents prefer to explore the Sultanate this time around.

Indian expat Irfan said that he was leaving for Salalah on Saturday and would take a few extra days off, as he had worked during the Islamic weekend. He added that he and his wife were looking forward to celebrating their wedding anniversary in Salalah.



“I know it’s not Khareef season, but Salalah is worth visiting any time of the year. The advantage in visiting places in Oman during this break is that tourist spots in the Sultanate are accessible and cheaper than, say, Dubai. With low cost carriers like SalamAir, it has become easier.

Holy month

“Ramadan could be another reason. Maybe people want to get in another trip before the holy month begins,” he said.

Irfan’s wife, Salma said that Salalah’s natural beauty made it an attractive option to visit throughout the year.

“Salalah is such a peaceful place, more so than other places in the region. The city’s greenery and nature makes you want to visit it time and again.

“It’s better to visit Salalah or some other place in Oman, rather than any other country in the region,” Salma said.

Dr Mary Ann, Corporate Director Marketing and Development at Al Nahda Hotels & Resorts, added, “All of us are looking to stay in Oman for the holiday break. I realise that a lot of people from around the Gulf Co-operation Council are also coming to Oman, because Oman is beautiful and there’s a lot more to do here.”

“The Sultanate has it all, it has adventure, nature, and there is so much more excitement here. It’s many degrees cooler, as well,” noted Dr. Mary Ann.

With the Isra Wal Miraaj weekend being the last public holiday before Ramadan, expats and Omani residents are already gearing up for the holy month.

“I could feel the excitement in the air because now the whole Muslim world is getting ready for Ramadan. And it’s the first part where the desire to do goodness and purity is in the air. I could tell by sitting with my colleagues and discussing it.

“Oman’s world-renowned hospitality is playing a key role in boosting the staycation trend,” Dr. Mary Ann said. “The people of Oman make everyone feel like they are their very own family members. There is no other country in the GCC where you are welcomed with love, like a long lost relative returning to their family.

“The sense of Omani hospitality is attracting people from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi. In the European countries, as well, people speak very highly of Oman, its hospitality, security, and welcoming nature. It makes me so proud to say I live and belong in Oman,” she added.

Diversity

Oman’s geological diversity, rich landscapes, and unique heritage offer residents and visitors a wealth of variety to choose from.

Topping the list for many is certainly the pristine coastline, extending from the beaches of Musandam to Dhofar. There are plenty of resorts waiting to welcome travellers throughout the festive period. Earning a special place on the list of many beachgoers is the coast of Ras Al Jinz, where the rare Green Turtle is known to nest seasonally.

Joining the long list of coastal favourites are the historic strongholds dotting the Sultanate, which have continued to inspire residents, citizens and travellers from around the world. Chief among them are the stunning Bahla Fort, the largest in the country and a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, as well as Barka Fort.

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