Muscat, A number of tourist destinations in the

Sultanate had a huge influx of tourists in the first half of 2018, with

409,449 visitors of different nationalities visiting 9 destinations.

The Ministry of Tourism is monitoring tourist flow at various

destinations to carry out more development of the sector due to the rise

in the number of visitors. It would plan more projects and work on it in

light of the available statistics regarding the interests shown by the

tourists.

The biannual statistics released by the Department of

Information and Statistics of the Directorate General of Planning,

Follow-up and Information in the Ministry of Tourism indicated that the

number of visitors to Jebel Akhdar was 93,307 between January and

June this year, of which 28,904 were Omanis, 4,063 GCC nationals and

3,060 were other Arabs. The number of foreign tourists reached 56,735

during this period. The number of tourists of the aquatic pools in the

Wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid in the first half of 2018 stood at 80,982. It

included 21,540 Omanis, 215 GCC nationals, 1,693 other Arabs and

57,534 foreign tourists.

As far as Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve of Ras Al Hadd in the

Wilayat of Sur in the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah is concerned,

the number of tourists to this destination in the first half of 2018

reached 21,489. This includes 3,435 Omanis, 629 GCC nationals, 942

Arabs, 16,295 foreign visitors and 188 students.

The number of tourists of different nationalities to Al Hoota

Cave in the Wilayat of Al Hamra in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah in

the first six months of 2018 reached 30,867.

The Ministry of Tourism has added new destinations to the

tourists’ map of the country. This is as part of its efforts to develop this

sector. The number of tourists to the wildlife sanctuaries in the first half

of 2018 was 267. These reserves are also in the list of destinations

where tourists flow is being studied.

The number of visitors to the Qurm Natural Reserve reached

480 in the first six months of this year. During this period, the number

of tourists who visited Al Ansab Lake stood at 1,034. The number of

those who visited the Daymaniyat Nature Reserve in the first half of

2018 reached 10,580.

There were 170,543 people who visited the castles and forts in

the Sultanate during the first half of 21018.

Various tourist destinations of the Sultanate had major influx of

visitors during Eid Al Adha holidays. Jabal Akhdar had 16,096 visitors

between 17 and 24 August 2018, who enjoyed exceptional climate and

scenic nature of these green mountains. The easy access to Jabal

Akhdar and the facilities have increased the number of tourists. This

has encouraged tourists to prolong their stay here. The Ministry of

Tourism has intensified promotional campaign for Jabal Akhdar as a

major tourist attraction.

Azhar bin Khalfan al-Toobi, Assistant Director of Tourism in the

Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah said that the tourists heading towards

Jabal Akhdar were received at tourist services center of the ministry

located at the entrance of Jabal Akhdar. A number of employees at

these centers provided information to the tourists during Eid Al Adha

holidays from morning till afternoon.

Al-Toobi said that the holidays of Eid Al Adha coincided with the

season of planting a number of fruit trees at Jabal Akhdar, including

grapes, pears, figs and apricots. The citizens utilise this opportunity to

showcase their products. The tourists, who visit Jabal Akhdar regularly,

taste these fruits and buy their different species to take home as the

best gift that explains the story of their visit.

During the period between Sunday, 19 August 2018 to

Saturday, 25 August 2018, the water ponds in the Wilayat of Bani

Khalid in the Governorate of North A’Sharqiyah received about 10,590

visitors, including 2,284 Omanis, 7,682 Asian visitors, 431 Europeans, 4

Americans, 24 Emiratis and 4 Bahrainis, 4 Saudis and 157 other Arabs.

Talal bin Khalfan al-Shu’aibi, Director of Tourism in the

Governorate of North A’Sharqiyah, said that the governorate was

experiencing a tourist influx during holidays because of its attractions,

especially water ponds in Wadi Bani Khalid and its wonderful view.

He said that the ministry has organised a number of events

during the Eid Al Adha holidays to activate domestic tourism and enrich

activities, which encourage tourists to spend their times in various

wilayats of the governorate. He added that this had positive impact on

tourism in the region. The Ministry of Tourism organised Eid

celebrations in Wilayat of Ibra, which was participated and visited by a

large number of people of the area.

Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve attracted 2,850 visitors during Eid

Holidays (Tuesday to Friday). It is one of the most popular tourist

destinations in the region.

Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is working on

several development and improvement plans for the reserve, so that

the tourists have better experience and increase their numbers to this

destination. As part of the plan, the staff of the reserve is being given

additional training and their skills are being further developed. Omran

is also working on development plans of the mountain tracks. This will

create more job opportunities for the citizens to hold key positions and

manage the reserve and hotel operations.

According to the plans, there would be three mountain tracks,

which will show beauty of the nature. All the rooms and tents of the

center will be renovated by the beginning of 2019. The nesting beach

will be improved, the turtle viewing floors will be constructed and the

low-rise walls will be built to save the small turtles.

The number of visitors to the Governorate of Dhofar during the

holidays hit above 85,000.

Marwan al-Ghassani, Director of Promotions at the Directorate

General of Tourism in the Governorate of Dhofar, said that the

directorate was cooperating with tourism partners to promote the

season after the end of Salalah Tourism Festival. At this time, the

tourists flow decreases due to the start of schools and universities.

“We are working with airlines to continue the same number of flights as

they were at the peak of Khareef season and to support cooperation

with hotel establishments to offer encouraging marketing offers,” he

said.

Al-Ghassani added that in cooperation with local, regional and

international organisations, efforts are being made to allocate this part

of the season for meetings and conferences in Salalah city. This idea

has come following the opening up of many hotels, which have

suitable halls and other facilities to meet the requirements of

conferences and meetings.

At Iteena Plain in Salalah in the Governorate of Dhofar, the

Directorate General of Tourism organised various cultural and

recreational activities during Eid Al Adha holidays in the second, third

and fourth days of Eid from 5 pm to 11 pm.

These events witnessed a great turnout, especially families,

which found it as an outlet during the vacations. The events also

promoted the tourist attractions and landmarks, as well as introduced

Omani arts, crafts and handicrafts.

In addition to entertainment and cultural activities, traditional

performances, folklore arts, competitions and traditional games were

also presented. A small commercial market for producing families, a

handicraft center for Omani handicrafts, entertainment for adults and

various sections for children and families, such as cartoon shows, face

painting, henna and other entertainments were also part of these

events.

The events organised by the Ministry of Tourism in various

governorates attracted large number of visitors who came to enjoy the

various programmes presented during the events.

In the of Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah, the Department of

Tourism organised activities across all the wilayats of the governorate

on the second day of Eid Al Adha. These activities included traditional

horse show, locally known as “Ardha” on the Ne’mah beach in the

Wilayat of Sur, in cooperation with the Sur Equestrian Club. It also

organised three-day folklore arts and traditional games, in cooperation

with Al Saqla tourist camp and Amjad Al Sharq team. It was

participated by the local communities of Jalan Bani Bu Ali. In the

evening of the third day of Eid, recreational activities were organised at

Masirah Island. This included an exhibition of handicrafts of producing

families, which was organised, in cooperation with Masirah Sports

Club.

In the Wilayat of Ibri, the Tourism Department of the

Governorate of A’Dhahirah and the Tourism Committee of the Chamber

of Commerce and Industry of Oman organised festival “Our Eid in Al

Duraiz,” in cooperation with the local people and youth of Al Duraiz

village. This was participated by a number of teams, companies and

institutions of the village. It continued throughout the entire holidays of

Eid Al Adha.

There was also a festival of paintings about history, tourism,

heritage, customs and traditions in the Governorate of A’Dhahirah. The

governorate is distinguished by its customs and arts practiced by the

local people in their national, religious and social events and

celebrations.

Horse riders performed dazzling and interesting performances

of horse skills and arts. A team of folklore arts of Al Duraiz village

presented traditional dances and song shows, which they perform at

many social and family events.

The festival included an exhibition of heritage, crafts, folk and

entertainment games for which Ibri village is known for.

A number of activities of the “Joy of Eid” were organised at the

Sohar Recreation Center and the Silver Jubilee Park of Sohar. It

attracted a large number of visitors who enjoyed the cultural and

heritage activities. There were celebrations named as Welcome Eid

on the second day of Eid Al Adha at Izki Public Park in the Governorate

of A’Dakhiliyah.

In the theatre of A’Rustaq Castle in the governorate of South Al

Bathinah several activities were also organised. On the third day of Eid,

celebrations were also organised at Khasab Sports and Cultural Club

in the Governorate of Musandam.

The Governorate of North A’Sharqiyah also had a variety of

events in Zad Al Rakib Equestrian Ground at Al Yahmadi in Wilayat of

Ibra. Also there were entertainment activities organised at the Lulu

Centre of Ibra.

Source: Oman News Agency