Weather treat for winter tourists in Oman
February 11, 2019 | 9:13 PM
by Times News Service
With spring-like temperatures the number of visitors from colder parts of the world has been increasing, say hoteliers. -File photo

Muscat: With temperatures plummeting to single degrees in some parts of Oman, tourists who visit the Sultanate to enjoy the weather at this time of the year are in for a very pleasant stay.

Oman’s winter tourism season is currently underway, and as visitors come to the country to escape the harsh weather back home, hotels in the country are operating at high occupancy levels, particularly up in the mountains of Jabal Akdhar, where temperatures are on an average 10 to 15 degrees cooler than they are in Muscat.

“Right now, we are at about 15 to 16 degrees in the daytime, and at night, the temperature drops to less than nine degrees, and even up to six degrees,” said Angel Al Araimi, marketing and communications manager for Alila Jabal Akhdar. “Right now, it is really low, and it is a bit icy. For visitors, this means they will be able to enjoy the weather, depending on where they come from. We have to wear jackets at night, but it’s okay during the day.”

“Our guests are mostly from Europe and the Arabian countries,” she added. “We have also been seeing high bookings from the US and Japan. We get a lot of enquiries, and bookings begin as early as two months to a year. Some book directly through tour operators, some do it through us, but we have very good bookings at this time of the year.”

Temperatures in Muscat also fell to around 17 degrees at night, making for some very cool weather for tourists, said Frederic Krueger, director of sales and marketing for Kempinski Hotel Muscat.

“As the weather cools down to spring-like temperatures, we have seen an increasing number of visitors from colder parts of the world—mainly Europe—looking to escape the harsh winter and celebrate the festive season with us here in Oman. We received a vast number of enquiries from the start of the winter months and will continue to receive more enquiries just before we head into the summer season,” he said.

“Although we receive numerous enquiries from individual international travellers and vacationers, we also receive enquiries from the GCC region, in addition to corporate and leisure groups looking for new experiences,” he added. “At Kempinski Hotel Muscat, our European guests are mainly from the UK, Germany, France, and Italy, in addition to guests from the region, such as Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.”

Eunice Fernando, the director of marketing and communications at Intercontinental Hotel Muscat, added that being the Sultanate’s oldest international hotel chain meant there were plenty of fond memories for people to enjoy.

“We have actually been busy with full occupancy for the last few days, and considering that some of the rooms are undergoing a revamp, we’re still really busy,” she told Times of Oman. “We’ve had guests come in and out, which is good. Most of them are Europeans. Normally, they stay for around two or three days, they go to Muscat, and then around the surrounding areas. Most of our guests are from Germany and France.”

“I was actually speaking to one of the guests, who was staying with us for a month. They are a German couple who are celebrating their anniversary here. Those who come from the colder countries look forward to the pleasant weather. For us, this is cold, but for them, this is summer, so that is why they keep coming back,” she added.

While visitors can expect cooler weather in the north of Oman, temperatures are still warmer in the country’s southern Dhofar Governorate, where tourists come to experience warmer climates, making for an equally pleasant change from the cold weather in their home countries.

“We are still seeing temperatures of 30 degrees and above, which is perfect for winter tourism, and we had some winds from the desert which brings the temperature down slightly,” added James Hewitson, general manager for Anantara Salalah. “Some 90 per cent of the month, we are at 30 degrees plus, which is actually perfect for winter tourism, because in the evenings, it is perfectly pleasant sitting outside, and during the day, it is particularly lovely for Europeans who are looking to escape the wind, the snow and the rain.

“We were full over the festive season, during Christmas, New Year and the beginning of January, so the hotel ran at 100 per cent occupancy during the beginning of the year, and we expect to clear 65 per cent with a very healthy average daily rate, and a good amount of revenue per available room. We get so many reservations by phone, email, from our partners; we are taking, on an average, between 30 and 50 calls a day.”

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