Muscat: Hotels and tour operators in Oman are gearing up to welcome visitors during the long Eid holiday at the end of this month.
With many residents abroad during last year’s Eid, which coincided with summer vacations in the Sultanate, establishments in Oman are looking forward to improving their numbers this time around. With the Eid holidays likely to take place between Thursday, August 31 and Monday, September 4, many hotels are playing it safe and offering visitors week-long discounts at their establishments.
“Normally, we charge a basic of OMR30 for our rooms, and then there are add-ons to this, such as an extra bed, which costs more, but we have done away with all of our extra fees and are charging just OMR30 for a room, inclusive of breakfast,” said Praveen George, general manager of Sales for the Al Falaj Hotel.
“This is a great opportunity for families with up to two children to stay together, and we will be expecting a lot of people from both Oman and the other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nations, especially Dubai, because they all enjoy staycations during this time of the year,” he added. “We hope to do well this Eid because the quality of service is good and we are always known for our food, so we are looking forward to a good holiday season this time as well.”
It’s not just hotels in Muscat that are prepping themselves for the Eid break, though. Up in the mountains, Anantara Jabal Akhdar is also looking forward to the end of the month.
“We have many activities open, not just for in-house guests, but residents of Oman as well,” said Firas Rashid, director of Sales and Marketing for Anantara Resorts Oman. “People traditionally book about two to three weeks before Eid begins, but we also get people who book at the last minute, and while that is short notice for us, we will be prepared for this eventuality.”
“We have a traditional Omani shuwa lunch buffet for all our guests, and the children who come can enjoy donkey rides around Jabal Akhdar,” he added. “This is also the time of the pomegranate harvest here on the mountain, so it is a great time to be up here. We didn’t do so well last Eid, so we realised that we need to promote ourselves better, and we’ve done that this time, so we’re looking forward to it,” Rashid added.
While the tourist season may be around the corner in the rest of the nation, tourists are currently flocking to the Dhofar region, which is in the midst of the Khareef (monsoon) season, and Rhoda Nuhu, assistant director of Marketing and Communications at Rotana Salalah is hoping to see many families check in this Eid.
“I think this is the best time of the year for families to come to Salalah and experience the Khareef season at its finest,” she said. “It is a long weekend, so there is plenty of time for them to see what the Dhofar has to offer. It is raining a lot more these days, and the weather is very good, especially up in the mountains, so I would invite all families to spend Eid with us.”
“We have noticed that the numbers are picking up this time as we approach Eid, so it looks like our efforts this year will be better than they were the last time,” added Nuhu. In-country getaways aside, many residents are also planning trips abroad, and travel agents have seen a sharp increase in flight bookings, of late.
“There is a tremendous increase in bookings from Oman for the upcoming Eid holidays, with almost all the flights going full,” said Wasim Zaidi, general manager for Jet Airways.
“There is a good demand for places like Bangkok, Singapore, Goa and Colombo,” Riyaz Kuttery, chief operating officer of Mezoon International Travel, said.
He added, “In Eastern Europe, Tbilisi, Baku, and Yerevan are the top picks. Then there are substantial bookings for far-east destinations, such as to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Krabi and Bali.”
“There is a surge in bookings during the Eid holidays and we hope that we will soon run out of our rooms as soon as the holidays are announced,’ added Vijay Handa, general manager, Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve Centre.