Jabal Akhdar’s tourism set for revitalisation with new roads, airport

Oman Sunday 28/January/2024 20:08 PM
By: Times News Service
Jabal Akhdar’s tourism set for revitalisation with new roads, airport

Muscat: Tourism in Jabal Akhdar is set to receive a significant boost with new road projects and plans for a proposed airport, according to experts in the tourism industry.

The Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology is currently exploring an alternative route from South Al Batinah to Jabal Akhdar.

The construction of a new road aims to provide easier access to Jabal Akhdar, eliminating the need for four-wheel-drive vehicles and enhancing tourist traffic to the scenic green mountains.

In a recent development, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has invited tenders from specialised companies for site selection studies, master plans, design, and supervision for the proposed development of Jabal Akhdar, Masirah, and Sohar Airports.

Jagdeep Thakral, General Manager of dusitD2 Naseem Resort Jabal Akhdar, emphasised the current accessibility issue, stating that Jabal Akhdar struggles to attract enough tourists due to its limited access with four-wheel-drive vehicles.

He expressed optimism that addressing this challenge would bring a positive transformation to Jabal Akhdar, making it accessible to a broader audience.

He told Times of Oman: “It’s an elephant in the room issue. Tackling this matter will make Jabal Akhdar thrive. Enabling broader access to the mountains through a road suitable for saloon cars would bring about a significant shift.”

“And the airport will be a game-changer, attracting numerous charter flights to the area. This is a haven for wellness, perfect for a two to three-day escape, but to prolong the stay, the mountains should offer more amenities,” he suggested.

Thakral proposed introducing activities like paragliding, hot air balloon services, and cable car rides where visitors can drift down naturally—similar to the popular Skyline Luge in Singapore.

Year-round destination

“It’s crucial to recognise that Jabal Akhdar is a year-round destination. With 250 rooms and comprehensive facilities, we cater to a high market and are well-prepared to handle a substantial influx of tourists,” he concluded.

Renowned for its majestic green mountains, Jabal Akhdar witnessed a notable increase in visitors during the first nine months of 2023, with a total of 161,974 people exploring its natural beauty.

The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) statistics revealed diverse visitor demographics, including Omani citizens and tourists from the GCC countries and beyond, showcasing the area’s growing popularity.