More than 56,950 watch turtles in 11 months
Over 56,950 people visited Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve in the wilayat of Sur between January and November this year. Of these 38,744 were foreigners and 18,213 Omanis.
Oman is home to several important nesting sites for four different species of turtle: the endangered Green Turtle, the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle, and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle.
Highlighting the popularity of the reserve among both Omanis and foreigners, Saud bin Hamad al Alawi, director of Tourism in South Sharqiyah governorate, said that the turtle reserve is a national treasure and one that is cherished by the sultanate.
“Foreign tourists to the area include Arabs as well. They enjoy turtle watching and the tranquility of the area,” said Alawi.
Established by the Royal Decree in 1996, the Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve is one of Oman’s best sustainable tourist destination which offers visitors a chance to experience nature in all its glory.
Vijay Handa, regional director, Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve, the destination is an experience that is not-to-be-missed.
“There is a continuous growth in the number of visitors to the area. Similarly, the number of turtles is also increasing annually. In the reserve, we are well prepared for the tourist season,” said Handa.
He added, “We are seeing an increase in the number of visitors since last week of September and October. We expect an increase of eight to nine per cent in the number of visitors this season, compared to the same period last year,” he said.
Watching turtles is one of the most important eco-tourism activities in the sultanate. Tour organisers advise visitors to watch nesting with calmness and compassion and not cause fear or inconvenience to the turtles. There is also an interactive museum in the reserve.
Shows and activities
According to Nasir al Ghailani, director general of the reserve, visitors can enjoy a host of activities this year.
He said that the reserve is also planning to offer stay options in the next two years. “Oman Tourism Development Company will announce the details at an appropriate time. Turtle nesting season begins in
May,” he said.
He said that the development of the reserve includes addition of three luxurious environmentfriendly camps, department of cruises to watch dolphins, diving with sea turtles, fishing and visiting a citizen’s home to familiarise visitors with the customs and traditions of Oman.
Khamis bin Abdullah bin Khamis al Amiri, a tourist guide, said, “I have been working for about ten years in the reserve as a tour guide. We take around groups of 25 and answer their questions regarding nesting of turtles. We also caution tourists against disturbing the turtles.”
Hisham bin Khalifa al Matani of the Tourist Guidance Department at the Ras Al Jinz Scientific Centre, too said, the guides play an important role in maintaining the sanctity of the reserve and entertaining the guests. “The estimated distance to and from the beach is about 900m. We provide visitors with all the information regarding the Ras al Jinz Scientific Centre, its efforts and details.”
Sultanate is home to four different species of turtles, the endangered Green Turtle, the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle, and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle