Di­verse ter­rain draws visi­tors to sul­tanate

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Our Cor­re­spon­dent Muscat

From the rugged ma­jes­tic moun­tains to the vast deserts or sandy beaches, Oman lures a va­ri­ety of tourists to its fold. One can also en­gage in nu­mer­ous ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties such as snorkelling, kite-surf­ing to kayak­ing and dune bash­ing.

Those drawn to his­tory too can sat­isfy them­selves with the nu­mer­ous ar­chae­o­log­i­cal land­marks across gov­er­norates.

A unique com­po­nent of the coun­try are its wadis - Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Shab - and nat­u­ral springs like Al Kasfa hot spring and Al Thuwarah spring.

Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams are some of the moun­tain ranges that are worth a visit. The pic­turesque Salalah dur­ing the kha­reef sea­son is one of sul­tanate’s best tourist places.

Tanja Wal­ter, project man­ager, De­vel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion with the Mid­dle East and North Africa from Ger­many said, “The sul­tanate has sev­eral tourism at­trac­tions to of­fer - right from the Sul­tan Qa­boos Grand Mosque and Al Alam Palace to the fa­mous tra­di­tional mar­kets like the Mut­trah Souq. Close to the cap­i­tal city - Muscat, sev­eral ar­eas are char­ac­terised by ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites and ar­chi­tec­tural sym­bols rep­re­sent­ing Omani cul­ture such as the Nizwa Fort, Ji­breen Cas­tle, and many other his­tor­i­cal places that high­light the her­itage of Oma­nis.”

Tanja added that she has vis­ited the sul­tanate four times over the past cou­ple of years and feels that it is among the few coun­tries that has man­aged to pre­serve its cul­tural iden­tity and rich her­itage.

“I am also im­pressed by the Oma­nis and their warm hos­pi­tal­ity and con­tinue to talk to my fam­ily and friends about them. I urge them to visit Oman to know the ex­cep­tional po­ten­tial of tourism the coun­try has. I hope that the sul­tanate con­tin­ues to main­tain its po­si­tion as the cul­tural cap­i­tal of the Mid­dle East.”

Balarab Sul­tan al Ham­madi, me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer at the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), who en­joys vis­it­ing wadis, said that Oman has the po­ten­tial to of­fer des­ti­na­tions per­fect for both short and long hol­i­days.

“A lot of leisure ac­tiv­i­ties can be in­dulged in other than just vis­it­ing wadis. For ex­am­ple, there are places visi­tors can en­joy moun­tain bik­ing, bush craft­ing, ab­seil­ing, div­ing, snorkelling, kite-surf­ing, kayak­ing, canyon­ing to name a few.”

Ham­madi ex­plained how the di­ver­sity of the sul­tanate’s ter­rain is in it­self a tourism at­trac­tion.

“For ex­am­ple, one can play sports on the pris­tine beaches, join sev­eral tours which are or­gan­ised for mar­itime ex­plo­ration, go for moun­tain ad­ven­tures, as well as visit myr­iad places that are of recre­ational sig­nif­i­cance. As an Omani, I urge one and all to ex­pe­ri­ence tourism in Oman.”

Philip O’Han­lon, a psy­chol­o­gist from the UK hails the govern­ment’s role in boost­ing tourism. “It is good to see that the govern­ment is do­ing ev­ery­thing to pro­vide tourists and visi­tors with ev­ery­thing they need. In­struc­tions writ­ten in Ara­bic and English on tourism leaflets help tourists to eas­ily reach places in and around Oman.

“It is re­mark­able that even the road net­work has de­vel­oped beau­ti­fully. The re­cent es­tab­lish­ment of tourism in­for­ma­tion cen­tres too is a boon for tourists.”

Omani hos­pi­tal­ity is another fac­tor that at­tracts over­seas tourists. O’Han­lon added, “The peo­ple of Oman are wel­com­ing of visi­tors and tourists and it is fas­ci­nat­ing how this cul­ture com­bines el­e­ments of an­cient tra­di­tion and con­tem­po­rary life.”

Saif Hu­mood al Badi, an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer at RAFO, be­lieves that tourism in the sul­tanate has a dis­tinct char­ac­ter.

“When adding a tourism ser­vice or at­trac­tion in a cer­tain area, we should en­sure that we pre­serve our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, which can be ex­ploited eas­ily, while mak­ing way for the new.”

The Min­istry of Tourism is mak­ing con­tin­u­ous ef­forts to pro­mote tourism prod­ucts, ser­vices and projects in ac­cor­dance with the Tourism 2040 strat­egy.

(Sup­plied pho­tos)

From moun­tains to deserts, beaches and seas Oman has nu­mer­ous op­tions for trav­ellers

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