Holidays over, back to work after 3-day break

Oman Saturday 22/July/2023 21:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Holidays over, back to work after 3-day break

MUSCAT: The long weekend is over. It is back to work, starting on Sunday. Citizens and residents in the Sultanate of Oman expressed their happiness over the extended break on the occasion of Hijri New Year.

Majority of people were seen rushing to shopping malls and hypermarkets on Saturday evening as they prepared themselves for the work ahead.

The Islamic New Year, which was announced on Thursday as a holiday, kicked off the celebrations as families and friends planned out picnics and family get-togethers.

Though a short three-day break, the mood of fun and frolic swept the country as a large rush travelled to cooler destinations up the mountains of Al Jabal Al Akhdar and Jabal Shams and neighboring areas of Al Hamra.

With the Dhofar Khareef season on, there were many who planned a trip to Salalah.

“It was a nice break to enjoy with my family. Such an extended weekend helped us plan a get-together with friends and we were a team of 18 persons who booked a flat in Al Jabal Al Akhdar. As we were a large group, we booked accommodation in adjoining flats. The weather was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. To have such a destination in peak summer here is a blessing,” said Raj, a private sector employee.

Such has been the clamor to go to the pleasant destinations like Jabal Akhdar that more than 79,000 people visited the place during the first half of this year, with the highest number of visitors from the Arab Gulf countries hailing from Saudi Arabia, according to statistics issued by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The number of visitors to Al Jabal Al Akhdar this year until the end of June 2023 was about 79,034. The number of Omani visitors reached 28,406. Saudis topped the list from the Gulf countries with more than 3,848 visitors, followed by Kuwaitis (611), Emiratis (329), and Qataris (265). The number of visitors from other nationalities reached 45,302, the data revealed.

Endorsing the trend of visitors increase in recent months and a 100 percent surge during the weekend, Jagdeep Thakral, General Manager, dusitD2 Naseem Resort Jabal Akhdar, told Times of Oman, “We had an exceptional weekend. From Wednesday to Saturday we saw an uplift with Thursday and Friday being packed. We witnessed a 100 percent surge more than our regular weekends this time.”

Dusit International is one of Thailand's leading hotel and property development companies and the dusitD2 Naseem Resort Jabal Akhdar boasts of one-of-its-kind adventure parks in Oman.

Opened in 2021, dusitD2 Naseem Resort is located within an 8,000 sqm Adventure Park on the Saiq Plateau, just a five-minute drive from the 'Grand Canyon of the Middle East.'

For Deepesh, a government sector employee, the long weekend was a chance to drive down to Salalah with his family. “The drive is good and Salalah during Khareef is one of the best destinations. We will get home late on Saturday night but it's fine," he said.

As the holidays end, it is time to return to work for Mohammed Al Abri, a professional in the private sector, who spent his holidays with his family in his village near Hamra. “We caught up with my family and relatives and the climate up the mountains near Hamra is very pleasant. There were a lot of people who spent their time in nearby hotels and resorts as we could see the rush of cars passing through our village,” said Mohammed.

Shopping malls and hypermarkets saw a sharp increase in footfalls as people purchased essentials to prepare themselves for work from Sunday.

“Such short breaks rejuvenate us physically and mentally and it is nice to be back to work after an extended weekend,” said Altaf Al Balushi, a banking professional.

With just a three day break, staycations were the norm for most of the expatriates.

Hotel industry executives told Times of Oman that occupancy rates saw a surge in hotels in Jabal Akhdar, Jabal Shams, and Hamra due to pleasant weather while there was also a good rush in Salalah during the long weekend.

An executive of a hotel in Jabal Akhdar said long weekends in Oman are always a blessing as they promote domestic tourism.

Our hotel was fully occupied during the long weekend. Staycations are becoming popular these days,” he said.

While there were plenty who enjoyed staycations, there were some who just decided to stay put at home and relax by watching movies on Netflix.

“It was fun spending time with family at home as one hardly gets such a long weekend often. So we made our home a theatre and enjoyed watching movies,” said Seema, a woman professional in the IT sector.

“We did not even go out for brunch or dinner. Rather we just ordered food and enjoyed quality family time and bonding,” she added.

The public parks and beaches also witnessed good rush on the weekends and nearby cafes did brisk business. Restaurants experienced rush in the evenings as people opted to dine out in the evenings.

The next national holiday in Oman will now be in September on the 12th of Rabi Al Awal to observe the birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), which is likely to be on September 26 or 27.