Times of Oman
Oman tourism: 15,000 tourists flock to Salalah in 15 days of Khareef festival
July 6, 2015 | 9:20 PM
by REJIMON K and ONA
The Khareef season, which begins every year on June 21 and ends on September 21, is considered one of the most important tourist seasons in the Gulf region. File photo - Cio Datan /Times of Oman
 
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Muscat: More than 15,000 tourists have visited Salalah in the first 15 days of this year’s Khareef season, revealed statistics.

“So far, 15,159 people have visited Salalah during this Khareef season. Omanis top the list and Asians are in second place,” National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) said.

While, the number of the Omanis who visited Salalah stood at 8,013, Asians numbered 4,196.

The Khareef season, which begins every year on June 21 and ends on September 21, is considered one of the most important tourist seasons in the Gulf region.



Last year, 431,105 people visited Dhofar. During this autumn season, Oman Air is set to operate 284 flights between Muscat and Salalah, an 11 per cent increase in the number of flights compared to 2014.

“While the rest the Sultanate swelters, the Dhofar region stays cool. This draws more and more visitors to Salalah,” said Basil Peter, a long time resident in Salalah.

Ahead of the season, the new Salalah airport was also opened last month and many airlines have increased the frequency of their flights.

The increase in the number of flights is expected to allow the movement of some 352,738 passengers between Salalah and Muscat.

Hotels are also geared up to welcome guests with special packages, and tour operators and travel agents are already busy scheduling trips.

“We see a positive trend and business is doing well. Special packages and offers are bringing us good business,” Manuel Levonian, general manager at Crowne Plaza in Salalah, told the Times of Oman.

Meanwhile, the Dhofar Municipality is also improving and developing its public services in different wilayats.

The municipality has developed internal road networks, infrastructure, and paved public parks with interlocking tiles, along with rest areas along the coasts.

The Ministry of Tourism is currently implementing a project to develop Al Dahareez beach which includes pathways for pedestrians, shades, a barbeque area, and paved areas for families, in addition to water fountains and car parks.

The Royal Oman Police is also operating patrols along the Adam-Thumrait Highway with aerial and land ambulance services in collaboration with the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA).

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is also making great efforts to develop and maintain the main and sub roads in all wilayats of Dhofar.

The Ministry of Health is making considerable efforts to meet the health needs of citizens, residents and visitors in the different wilayats. It has established a health corner at the Municipality Recreation Centre to provide services to visitors at the Salalah Tourism Festival.

Meanwhile, to provide a stress-free travel guide to various attractions, services, activities and places in all the wilayats of Dhofar, the Ministry of Tourism launched the Traveller Oasis website last month.

For first-time visitors to Dhofar the website is helpful in planning their summer holiday by browsing hotels, restaurants and entertainment as well as making use of a list of phone numbers put up on the website and social media sites associated with Traveller Oasis.

Dhofar governor reviews preparations

Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan Al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar on Monday chaired a meeting on the preparations of the governorate to receive visitors and tourists during Khareef season. The meeting reviewed the preparations of the various departments to serve the visitors in the tourist season, in addition to discussing the maintenance of the roads leading to the Governorate of Dhofar across the Wilayat of Thumrait and the coastal road through the Wilayat of Shillem and Al Halaniyat Islands. The meeting also discussed the health services and the preparations of medical staff, health points, emergency center and the heart center as well as, the availability of adequate medicines and mobile medical services on the Adam-Thumrait road.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Abdullah bin Seif Al Mahrouqi, Deputy Governor of Dhofar, Sheikh Salim bin Oufait Al Shanfari, Head of Dhofar Municipality, a number of advisors, the Dhofar police commander, representatives of respective ministries and government institutions, and officials of the concerned authorities in the private sector in the governorate.

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