National day holidays: Oman tourist spots draw huge crowds
December 5, 2017 | 8:10 PM
by Times News Service
Wadi Bani Khalid. Photo: Ministry of Tourism/Twitter

Muscat: Heavy footfall has been recorded at major tourist attractions in the Sultanate, thanks to the five-day break for the National Day.

The holidays, which started on Friday and ended yesterday, drew tourists from Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The Ministry of Tourism has disclosed the figures in this regard, which can be partly attributed to the fact that the national days of Oman and the UAE coincided.

Wadi Bani Khalid was especially busy, drawing more than 3,000 visitors in a single day. “On December 4, some 3,156 tourists of various nationalities visited Wadi Bani Khalid. Among them, some 1,990 were Omani nationals, 880 were from Asian countries, 206 were Europeans, 28 were from the GCC, and 52 were from the other Arab nations,” according to an official statement from the tourism ministry.

Travellers visited the famous Nakhal fort in large numbers. The total number of visitors to the Nakhal fort in South Batinah reached 3,290 in the three-day period from December 1 to 3, the ministry added.

The tourism ministry also revealed that as many as 914 people visited the Scientific Centre of Ras Al Jinz (South of A’Sharqiyah) on December 4 alone.

Also, some 350 people visited the Ras Al Hadd fort (South of A’Sharqiyah) from December 1 to 4, the ministry stated.

Aija Fort in Sur witnessed some 108 visitors from the start of the break until December 4.

Meanwhile, fortresses in Al Zaahirat province witnessed a good turnout. As many as 57 tourists visited the Eebari fort, 48 visited the fort at Al Mamourah and 24 people visited the fort of Bait Al Marah.

Recalling fond memories of his time in Nakhal, a resident in Oman remarked, “It’s not just the fort that I enjoyed, but the surrounding water features as well. Most people have these stereotypes about Oman and other Middle East countries that they are just endless, flat and featureless areas filled with sand, but I can honestly say that is far from the truth.”

“I have been to many places in Oman, including Nakhal, Wadi Bani Khalid, Sur, Nizwa and even Musandam, to name a few, and I can honestly tell you that there are few places in the world that can compare with this land. Oman is truly the essence of Arabia,” he reiterated.

“Nakhal fort is impressive, but so is the greenery surrounding it, thanks to the nearby springs,” said Rachel Gemayel, a tourist.

A resident who visited Wadi Al Arabaeen maintained that he, along with his family, had enjoyed the cool temperature and the light rain that followed.

However, he mentioned that it was very difficult to find a parking space. “We had to park our car some two kilometres away from the spring,” he revealed.

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