Tourism sector sees boost with increase in visitors to Dhofar during Khareef season

Oman Monday 09/October/2023 19:02 PM
By: Times News Service
Tourism sector sees boost with increase in visitors to Dhofar during Khareef season

Muscat: The number of visitors to Khareef Dhofar 2023 has reached nearly one million, an increase of 16 per cent compared to the previous season.

The efforts made by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and the Municipality of Dhofar, in cooperation with partners in the tourism sector, achieved an exceptional Khareef season this year and record results, represented by the number of visitors touching one million visitors, an increase of 16 per cent.

His Excellency Azzan bin Qasim Al Busaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism for Tourism, said that the success of the Khareef Dhofar season this year was the result of a marketing and promotional strategy and an integrated and harmonious system that embodies the strenuous efforts of all tourism sector partners.

Al Busaidi explained that the Ministry worked to maximise the richness of the tourism product to form unique and diverse experiences for visitors and tourists through tourism services that meet the requirements of all categories and to determine the readiness of residential facilities from licensed hotel facilities. In addition to integrating efforts with government agencies, private sector institutions in Dhofar Governorate, tourism sector partners, and teamwork, which reflected positively on the success of the Khareef season, which achieved more than 924,000 visitors, an increase of 16 per cent compared to the previous season.

Al Busaidi added that the promotion plan for the season has developed a marketing strategy for all periods of the season, which extends for three months, in a way that suits each period through many paths, including promotion in the media, paid advertisements via social media, and concluding partnerships with airlines and hotel establishments to implement a joint promotional campaign throughout the season. There is also ongoing cooperation with airlines and hotels to design attractive promotional packages and incentives.

"Many tourist packages have been offered and sold through the platforms and websites of tourist offices, which have witnessed great demand and interest due to the attractive offers. Dhofar Governorate was also promoted at regional and international conferences and travel and tourism markets, highlighting the events and activities carried out during the season, " Al Busaidi added.

Al Busaidi stated that the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism succeeded last season in promoting the beginning and end periods of the season, which represent the lowest peak periods of the season. As 57 per cent of visitors this year were concentrated during the month of August 2023, the tourist flow was distributed between land ports by 77 per cent and 23 per cent through airports through Salalah International Airport.

His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Mohsen Al Ghassani, Governor of Dhofar, said that the most important factors for the success of the Khareef season are the presence of an integrated and harmonious system of public and private sector institutions, civil society institutions, and the people of the governorate.

"There are many efforts to which the elements of this system have contributed, including periodic meetings of the competent authorities in the governorate to discuss Visions, plans, and work on integrating efforts, as this comes within the framework of (Dhofar Governorate System). Also, one of the factors for the success of the Dhofar Khareef season is the availability of all information about tourist sites and events in one platform, which is the (Dhofar Seasons) application. This application is an integrated digital guide for all seasons of Dhofar Governorate, and allows identifying tourist events and sites and booking tickets for recreational and tourism activities. This is supported by the (Absher) application, which makes it easier for citizens, residents and tourists to request access to the services provided by the Dhofar Municipality, " Al-Ghassani added.

His Excellency stated that the continued strengthening of the identity of all tourist seasons in the governorate as a comprehensive identity under the name (Dhofar) and the subsequent identities linked to the seasons and events such as (Khareef Dhofar ), (Dhofar Serb) and (Dhofar Winter) also contributed to the promotion of all tourist seasons in the governorate under the identity One within the framework of the comprehensive identity that was launched last year with the aim of unifying all Dhofar seasons and enhancing the experience of citizens and tourists alike as an integrated experience. This identity aims to provide an opportunity to enjoy all the elements of picturesque nature and various events and activities, including adventures, culture, shopping, entertainment and sports activities, taking advantage of all the components of the governorate’s mandates and in all seasons.

Al Ghassani explained that developing tourist sites requires a comprehensive long-term structural plan and two short- and medium-term plans. Therefore, the development of tourist sites takes place gradually according to these plans. Last year, the development of some tourist sites began in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Omran Company. The first phase of some projects was completed, such as the Wadi Darbat view, in which work included improving the entrance and preparing seating sites with modern flooring and umbrellas, with the construction of a corridor to reach the view site, in addition to providing public transportation buses in cooperation with the Mwasalat Company.

 Implementation of the first phase of the Wadi Darbat walkway has also begun, including a modern walkway, protection barriers, modern seating areas, and kiosks with a unique aesthetic element.

It is worth noting that the Wadi Darbat area has witnessed many events and activities, such as kayaking, rowing boats, and an adventure area. The Darbat area in general, witnessed many activities that were implemented by providing an opportunity for Omani entrepreneurs, as modern and upscale services were provided around the valley stream area, in addition to experiencing adventures in the Darbat Cave.

 Tourist site development projects also included the implementation of the first phase of the Al-Mughassil area, which included a modern walkway that includes a group of cafes, restaurants, and theater performances, in addition to a public square, an events area, and vehicles transporting hikers from the parking lots to the entrance to Al-Marneef Cave.

Tourist site development projects included improving the Ain Gerziz area, providing it with relaxation supplies, allocating sites for barbecues and relaxation, and developing the Hamrir View area through a package of visitor supplies to spend times full of fun and enjoyment.

Al-Ghassani said that the roles of many agencies in the governorate are complementary to implement infrastructure projects in accordance with Dhofar Governorate’s vision for comprehensive development, as the governorate, represented by the office of His Highness the Governor of Dhofar, works to implement many projects such as the governorate’s development projects that were previously announced, in addition to the Spray Boulevard project and other strategic projects.

The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology is also implementing a package of road projects in the governorate, and the projects being implemented in the governorate include the development of waterfronts, such as the Al-Haffa Beach Market project and the development of the waterfront in Al-Dahariz and Awqad.