Diverse terrain draws visitors to sultanate
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.
From mountains to deserts, beaches and seas Oman has numerous options for travellers