Three great tourist destinations for the residents of Oman

T-Mag Wednesday 25/April/2018 17:39 PM
By: Times News Service
Three great tourist destinations for the residents of Oman

Holidays does not always mean travelling to far off destinations. Sometimes, short and quick trips are the best journeys especially when you do not have much time to plan your itinerary. This summer travel to one of the easy destinations that are close and amazing as well.

At the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia lies a beautiful region full of historic monuments and picturesque mountain views. It is here, nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, that lie three countries that have become the tourist destinations of choice for Omanis and expats: Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. So, what makes these quaint places the number one choice for Oman residents? Let’s find out.

The three countries are opening up to the tourism industry, and they are succeeding. They are cost-effective for the average tourist. You can holiday with the family without breaking the bank. From accommodation to food, and everything in between, these three countries are far more affordable than, say, Spain, France or Italy.

“People can now experience Europe by paying far less compared to what they used to pay to travel to dominant European countries,” said chief operating officer of Mezoon International Travel and Tours Riyaz Kuttery.

Another reason is that Omanis and residents of the Sultanate can obtain a visa on arrival in Georgia or Armenia, which makes travel faster and hassle-free.

For Azerbaijan, Omanis get a visa on arrival, and expats (such as Indian nationals) can apply and get it online, swiftly. The visas also cost a lot less.

“We wanted to go to a place where we could experience snow and that was, at the same time, easy on the pocket. Plus, as the trip was planned all of a sudden, we could not go to places where visas were difficult to process,” said one of the visitors, Nikitha Eliza Mathew. “The visa takes only three working days to process and it costs around $23, and an urgent visa option is also available, which is done in four hours and costs around $50.”

Marketing Manager at Sunny Island Travel and Tours Masud Rana said, “They are trying to boost the sector, and the fastest route to boost the sector is easy access.”
The cherry on top is the availability of budget airlines that fly to all three destinations. From Flydubai to our very own SalamAir, which offers a direct flight to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and to Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

Now that we know the ease of visiting these fabulous Eastern Europe locales, let’s dive deeper into what each one has to offer. If you are headed to Georgia, you will be moved by its culture that carries hints of Middle Eastern hospitality. “The culture is almost the same as the Middle Eastern culture,” said Masud.
Georgia has everything a traveller can ask for: Mountains and sea sides for nature-loving folks, besides breathtaking landscapes and ancient churches. Make sure to stop by the remote region of Svaneti, where you can climb medieval watchtowers. In the summer, it’s a great place for hiking, while the winter attracts skiers from around the globe.

Austin Rebello, who visited Georgia recently, said, “Meeting people, learning about their culture, exploring, and spreading peace and love summed up my trip.”
Adjara is another must-visit place, where you can enjoy water sports, relax on pebbled beaches, and walk around parks full of fountains and dancing people. The sunny region is filled with restaurants and cafes. And, speaking of food, make sure to try the breads and cheeses around Georgia.
Armenia, a tiny country tucked behind Turkey, is full of mystical spaces that carry ancient stories. And it is still unspoilt by massive crowds of tourists, making it a great destination for the adventurous. The architecture and the ruins will be etched on your mind for years to come, especially Haghpat, a Unesco monastery situated near Alaverdi. The locals are so friendly they’d be willing to show you around and invite you home for a cup of tea.

Azerbaijan has a rich history, absorbing culture, fascinating architecture, and great cuisine. You can stay in the old town of Baku or wander across the country and stop by the mud volcanoes of Gobustan and the mountain villages of Northern Azerbaijan near Quba.
Nikitha travelled to Azerbaijan for an unparalleled snowy vacation. “The experience was amazing as it was our first time experiencing snow, and the place has a lot of Persian architecture and the building designed by Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect, is a must-see. It’s called the Heydar Aliyev Centre,” she recalled.

Overall, a trip to any of these places promises to be an unforgettable one. Let’s hope the holidays will be longer this Eid, because my itinerary is all set. Is yours? –[email protected]