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Winter tourism booms in Dhofar, visitors up 18.4%

16 Mar 2024 Winter tourism booms in Dhofar, visitors up 18.4% By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Salalah – Visitors to Dhofar increased 18.4% this winter season, according to the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. The governorate attracted over 35,000 visitors from October to February.

A significant number of tourists arrived on charter flights from European countries.

Salalah Airport is expected to receive a total of 239 charter flights in the current winter season.

Hotels, particularly 4- and 5-star properties, have witnessed occupancy rates surpassing 95% this season.

Khalid bin Abdullah al Abri, Director General of Heritage and Tourism in Dhofar, stressed the importance of advancing tourism projects throughout the governorate. Key initiatives include a collaboration between the ministry and Dhofar Municipality to develop mini tourist oases, the first of which, Hushir oasis, is slated for completion this year.

The ministry is also focusing on enhancing tourist attractions, such as the Haywar Cave in Jebel Samhan and upgrading adventure tourism sites. Additionally, plans are underway to offer small and medium-sized enterprises and Riyada card holders space at Al Baleed Archaeological Park to sell antiques, gifts and handicrafts.

In terms of heritage preservation, Sadah Fort is poised to welcome visitors again following restoration, while Rakhyut Fort is expected to reopen on World Heritage Day on April 18.

Abri highlighted the active search for investment opportunities, with more than 20 prospects identified in the governorate. To cater to growing demand, new 4- and 5-star hotel projects are in the pipeline with the aim of increasing the total number of hotel rooms from 6,000 to 7,000 by the end of the year.

To further promote Dhofar as a leading tourist destination, the ministry is drawing a promotion strategy aimed at Gulf and international markets. Upcoming events like the Frankincense Season, Empty Quarter Festival and Omani Culinary Arts Festival are set to draw a wide array of visitors, celebrating the rich cultural and natural heritage of the governorate.

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