Muscat: Flights and hotels are being rapidly booked due to the National Day and Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday holidays, according to travel agents and tour companies working in the Sultanate.
Renny Johnson, CEO of Barakah Travel Management Company, said: “The announcement of the Oman National Day holidays came as a surprise to all, as most planned their travel for the end of the month. Since it’s a long five-day break, people took this opportunity to travel to destinations such as London, Milan, Paris, Doha, Dubai and Far Eastern countries.”
“We also received several hotel bookings to Jebel Shams, Jebel Al Akhdar, and Salalah. Flights are fully booked for the 48th National Day, hotels in Oman are offering special packages and this is another reason people have planned to stay in the country for these offers and enjoy their holidays. We have also noticed a steady growth in inbound bookings.”
Holidays were declared from Tuesday, November 20, to Thursday, November 22, with work resuming on Sunday, November 25. The five-day break has given people in Oman an opportunity to spend time with their families.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, S Bhuiyan, General Manager of New Star International Travel, said, “We have seen a surge in demand that has resulted in many flights and hotels being fully booked, with Omanis and expats using the extended break to travel to or explore other parts of Oman.”
Flights to almost all major tourist destinations have doubled during the current holiday season. “People are taking advantage of staycations. Our hotels at Masirah and Ras Al Jinz are fully booked for the next five days,” said Vijay Handa, general manager of Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve & Masirah Island Resort.
Dr Mary Ann, Corporate Director Marketing and Development at Al Nahda Hotels & Resorts, said: “It’s that time of the year when families and friends refresh their bonds of love and friendship over the long weekend of National Day holidays. We are privileged to share this joyous time of bonding.”
“Our Luxury Dunes by Al Nahda Desert Resort, the 2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards Winner, for Country Oman ‘Luxury Honeymoon Hotel’, is busy accepting bookings for the five days of Oman national holidays. There are lovely barbecue dinners under the stars, camel rides, quad biking, and so much more for the entire family.”
Speaking to the Times of Oman, 27-year-old Omani Abdullah from Sur said, “It is a great chance to go with my friends to Dubai. It has been some time since I had a chance to go there. This is the perfect time and on the way I plan to stop at Sohar and maybe take a detour to Musandam on the way back if there is time.”
“However, due to crowds and things being booked quickly, I prefer to drive. It will be a lot easier that way,” he concluded.
Like many Omanis, Abdullah plans to head north of the border. The close connection between both the United Arab Emirates(UAE) and Oman has paid dividends for both sides, with Oman ranking as the fifth best performing market for tourism to Dubai. With the UAE’s National Day coming in early December, crowds are expected to shift in the opposite direction.
Raj Kumar, a teacher in Ibra, said, “I think it is excellent. It is great that people have been given five days, which is more than enough time to leisurely go abroad or see Oman in a relaxed and unrushed mood.”