Category: Beautiful Oman

Salalah is attracting more visitors than ever, with more than 150,000 having visited the Dhofari capital to enjoy the khareef between June 21 and July 25, an increase of 171 per cent compared to the year before, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

One of the reasons for the increase in tourists is that Ramadan ended earlier this year and many people visited Dhofar during the Eid holidays.

Good business

But whatever the case, the high number of visitors has meant good business for hotels, museums, restaurants and other services.

“We’ve had a very good July. Since the start of the khareef occupancy for our property was above 90 per cent,” said Daniel Fanselow, GM of Juweira Boutique Hotel at Salalah Beach.

There have many people making last-minute bookings, and some booking into August, too, so Fanselow was optimistic that business would continue to be strong until the end of the khareef season.

At the Crowne Plaza Resort business has also been strong this khareef season, said GM Manuel Levonian.“There’s been a steady occupancy since the beginning of the season. We’ve been doing an occupancy of about 85 to 90 per cent on an average,” he said.

Eid holidays

The Eid holidays were especially busy, he added, with some days hitting 100 per cent occupancy.

Now the huge rush is over but business is very steady, and the city and region are filled with tourists enjoying the mild temperatures and misty mountains.

“The atmosphere is vibrant and the city is very busy. The roads are very busy and obviously a lot of people are in the mountains, which are quite green,” added Fanselow.

Statistics compiled by the NCSI also indicate that the highest growth in the number of visitors was recorded among those from Asian countries who logged a whopping 248.4 per cent surge during the period with their numbers touching 28,370.

Of the total 150,334 people who arrived in Salalah since the khareef season began, as many as 115,789 were from GCC countries including 89,523 from the Sultanate, showing a rise of 164.6 per cent compared to the figures recorded during the same period last year.

A further 13,219 GCC visitors to Salalah came via regional flights, while 4382 people flew in on international flights.

Arab visitors

There has been a significant increase — 102.8 per cent to be exact — in the number of khareef visitors from other Arab countries, too.

Their numbers reached 4568, of which 1668 visitors came through Salalah airport.

A total of 4655 visitors from Asia arrived in Salalah via the airport.

The magic khareef has even cast its spell among Americans, with 351 people from the USA visiting Salalah during the period, posting a growth of 36.6 per cent compared to 2014.

More than twice the usual number of visitors have stopped by the Al Baleed Archaeological Park and Museum of the Land of Frankincense this season, too, said Ghanim Al Shanfari, Director of the Museum.

“This July we had 22,084 visitors. In the same month of the last year we had 10,560 visitors,” he noted, adding that the Samahram Archaeological Site had 9929 visitors this July, up 8.4 per cent from 9162 in July 2014.

New services

Over the past year there have been renovations and new services at the Al Baleed site, including a cafe and botanical gardens, which have attracted more people, he explained.

To cope with the increase in numbers the site has hired more museum guides, increased the security, and lengthened the opening hours from 9am to 9pm from Sunday to Thursday and 3pm to 9pm on Friday and Saturday.

“In general, to be honest Salalah has really become an international tourist spot. Last year there was really a big number of European tourists, too,” said Al Shanfari, adding that he expected many visitors from countries such as Germany, Switzerland and France from the beginning of September.

Fuel stations are also making sure they are well stocked and able to provide for all the extra vehicles on the roads. Omanoil, for example, is constantly monitoring its reserves at all its 17 fuelling stations in Dhofar as well as those located in route, as well as continuously replenishing them to avoid any possibility of a shortage.

Wide array

In addition, all Ahlain stores have been fully stocked with a wide array of products and goods for the convenience of its shoppers.

“Our extensive retail network has been fully prepared to meet the challenges posed by the huge volume of tourists.

In fact, officials have already recorded a 77.3 per cent rise in the number of visitors to Salalah compared to the same period last year.

It was therefore essential for us to develop an approach that would ensure all customers continue to enjoy the quick and convenient experience the Omanoil brand is renowned for 24 hours a day,” said Faisal Al Shanfari, Oman Oil Marketing Company’s General Manager of Human Resources, Corporate Affairs, Procurement and Health, Safety, Security and Environment.

The flow of visitors is expected to stay strong through the end of khareef and even into the Eid Al Adha holiday, which is expected around September 23.

Levonion said the Crowne Plaza Resort is already taking bookings for the next holidays.

“We are already seeing a positive trend for the next Eid holiday,” he concluded.

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BEAUTIFUL OMAN

Be it an azure pool shaded by palm trees, an infinity with unincumbered views of the sea, or a swanky rooftop lap pool overlooking city, there are few things that can revitalise and lift your spirits on these hot summer days like a dip in one of the beautiful, temperature controlled pools housed in Muscat’s picturesque hotels.

Of course, you have to be an in-house guest to enjoy these glorious pools. Or you can opt to become a member of the hotels’ health clubs to gain access.

Many properties in Muscat now offer monthly or annual memberships that provide access to their pools, gyms, and various other recreational amenities. For many, the prices charged are well worth it for access to world-class facilities in which to take advantage of the cooling fun and health benefits of swimming.

Set in the rugged mountains of Qantab, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is a premiere destination with pool facilities that include six fresh water swimming pools equipped with temperature controllers that keep the pools’ water temperatures around 28 to 30 degree Celsius. The property offers a Day Use access privilege called “A Day in Paradise” which enables people to use the swimming pools and beach area facilities for one whole day as well as enjoy a buffet lunch (priced at OMR25 for adults and OMR15 for children). The property also offers exclusive loyalty membership programme through Club Mata’am at OMR85 for 12 months. (Tel: 24776334, website: www.clubmataam.com)

At the Chedi Muscat, the chic 5-star beach resort in Al Ghubra, guests can choose between three pools: the adult-only Chedi Pool, an infinity pool surrounded by cabanas with a superb seafront location; the Long Pool, the lengthiest in the region at 103-metre (also for adults only); and the family-friendly Serai Pool, set with black mosaics and covered by an elegant canopy. “Our pools are temperature controlled. So the guests can enjoy these pools throughout the day. We also offer annual Health Club memberships for access to pools which are priced at OMR1,900 per person,” says Linda Silveira, the Sales Coordinator at the resort.

At Park Inn Muscat in Al Khuwair, The Summer Sky Club gym and pool membership is available for either a three or six month period (with the current promotion, they will give you an additional three or six months free). “The pool timings are from 7am to 8pm,” says Vianney Antonio, the PR & Executive Secretary at the hotel. “Guests like to chill at the rooftop pool with the spectacular view of the city, surrounded by mountains and the beach.”

Day passes and memberships are offered by many other luxury hotels in Muscat including The Crowne Plaza, where the day passes are priced at OMR10 for adults and OMR6 for children. The Grand Hyatt Muscat, which has one big pool for adults and one pool for kids, offers both memberships (1, 3 & 6 months and 1 year – now with a 20 per cent summer discount) and day passes priced at OMR10 for adults and OMR5 for children. The pools are open from 7am till 9pm in both the hotels. The Intercontinental Hotel, which has a leisure pool and a lap pool offers day passes to public at OMR15 for an adult and OMR10 for a child. They also offer 3-month, 6-month and one year memberships for individuals and families. Meanwhile, Al Bustan Palace Hotel has a ‘day use offer’ where an individual or family can check into a “relax room” and have access to all facilities including the swimming pools from 10am till 6pm (rates start at OMR70).

Besides, these high end properties, various other hotels across the city including Majan Continental Hotel, the Al Falaj Hotel, and Ruwi Hotel offer pool memberships for more moderate prices, around OMR40 per month.

Make the most of what’s left of the scorching summer heat by starting a healthy, new, cooling habit at one of Muscat’s premiere swimming pools.

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12 DAYS IN OMAN

A newly launched video titled 12 days in Oman, shot by German filmmaker, Marko Roth and featuring the vast beauty of Oman over a period of 12 days, has got viewers going wild, sending the film viral on the internet.

The video, which is just under four minutes long, was uploaded to Vimeo on the June 15 and had already clocked up more than 58,700 views at the time of going to print.

Roth’s video features unexplored realms of natural beauty all the way from the north to the south of the Sultanate. The picturesque landscapes and eye-catching beaches, deserts, mountains and wadis captured on screen by Roth and his remarkable team of three has certainly struck a chord with Omani viewers.

“We drove over 4,200 kilometres across the unexplored and beautiful country of Oman. We made friends with young and old Omanis, discovered absolutely stunning landscapes and captured our entire experience in this film,” Roth told the local media.

Roth has covered every facet of Omani culture, from the famous local spices to hot Arab sands. Whether it is the beautiful mosques or the antique forts that dot the Sultanate’s landscape, 12 days in Oman has captured it all. The German filmmaker has received acclaim from the Ministry of Tourism as well as other institutions, with viewers leaving positive comments on the video in their droves.

Watch The Video

living in Oman

20 reasons why expats love living in Oman

1. Because His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said is a visionary leader.

20 reasons why expats love living in Oman

beautiful Oman

2. Because Omani people are friendly.

20 reasons why expats love living in Oman

20 reasons why expats love living in Oman

3. Because Oman is clean and beautiful.
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4. Because Oman is peaceful and safe.
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5. Because Oman is known for its religious tolerance.
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6. Because Oman has a good education system.
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7. Because Oman’s law is equal for all.
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8. Because Oman’s heritage and tradition are rich.
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9. Because women’s safety is a priority in Oman.
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10. Because Oman has the most beautiful beaches.
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11. Because Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque teaches you the meaning of being faithful.
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12. Because the beauty of Royal Opera House Muscat leaves you breathless.
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13. Because Oman is the land of Frankincense, Gold & Arabian Nights.
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14. Because Oman’s wadis are hidden gems in the desert.
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15. Because Oman has the most beautiful deserts.
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16. Because Oman has the best road networks.
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17. Because Oman has some of the best shopping malls.
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18. Because Muscat Festival offers festive experience.
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19. Because Oman has beautiful mosques.
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20. Because Salalah is a perfect holiday destination.

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oman tourism

Five million tourists are expected to visit the Sultanate of Oman per year by 2030, a senior official from the Ministry of Tourism said on Monday.
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, Maitha Al Mahrouqi, undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism, said that Oman will attract 1.5 million more tourists in the next five years.
“By 2030, we expect the number to go up by five million,” she said, on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market which began yesterday at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Around 2.1 million tourists visited the Sultanate last year.

The Arabian Travel Market kicked off yesterday, providing business opportunities to entrepreneurs.

The four-day event will also have seminars and ministerial discussions.

With  more than 400 confirmed exhibitors, the 2015 edition is set to welcome around 23,000 visitors.

The show has grown in size and an extra hall has been added this year to accommodate 86 countries, 64 national pavilions, and 113 new exhibitors.

From Oman, more than 26 companies, including a range of Omani hotels, are sharing the space with Oman Tourism, according to Maitha Al Mahrouqi.

These include Al Bustan Palace, Six Senses Zighy Bay, IHG Oman and The Chedi Muscat apart from Atana Hotels, Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts, Ibis Hotel and Park Inn by Radisson. Millennium Resort Mussanah is also present at the event.

Next to the Oman Tourism enclosure is a big Oman Air pavilion which is drawing huge crowds.

“Despite some problems in the region, the Oman tourism sector is witnessing strong growth and will continue to grow because of strong government policies,” she told the Times of Oman.

She hoped that the tourism sector would continue to grow given the raft of projects in the pipeline and the rapid development of Oman’s aviation sector, with Oman Air expanding its network all over the Asia. Besides that, the opening of new hotels and airports is also contributing to the growth,” she said.

Regarding the participation at Arabian Travel Market, she said that Oman will aim for more tourists from its neighbouring GCC countries.

“We intend to strengthen and solidify our presence even more in the regional market through our participation in this very important event,” added Al Mahrouqi.

“During the four-day exhibition, we will feature the natural beauty and diversity of our country, our main tourist destinations, major tourism projects, and other activities designed to provide holiday makers with the most memorable experience. Our neighbours in the GCC have always been an important market for us as we continuously witness a steady increase in regional tourist arrivals year-on-year. We hope to attract more tourists regionally and globally in our bid to become one of the world’s top-of-the-mind destinations,” she added.

This year, Oman will showcase its holiday destinations and other activities in line with the show’s theme of ‘Family Travel.’

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photo-of-Muscat-hotel

Muscat: Muscat has registered a six per cent growth in Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) in 2014 driven by strong Average Daily Rate (ADR), according to PwC’s second hotel forecast for the Middle East report titled ‘Accommodating Growth,’ which focuses on six major cities in the region — Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Muscat and Riyadh.

The forecast uses a number of economic variables to forecast hotel occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) in each of the six cities and the region in 2015 and 2016.

Despite a number of challenges faced by the region in 2014, such as the fall in oil prices and devaluation of the euro against the dollar, Oman continued its strategy of slow and steady growth in its capital city.

All six cities mentioned in the report witnessed an increase in RevPAR in 2014. Muscat itself saw an increase of approximately 6 per cent. While occupancy was the principal growth driver in Doha, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, it fell in Muscat and Dubai. The ADR fell in Riyadh, Doha and Abu Dhabi, while the strongest gains were in Jeddah and Muscat.

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Wahiba Sands

The Wahiba Sands, or Ramlat al-Wahiba (also called Sharqiya Sands) is a region of desert in Oman. The region is named for the Wahiba tribe. The area is defined by a boundary of 180 kilometers (110 mi) north to south and 80 kilometers (50 mi) east to west with an area of 12,500 square kilometers (4,800 sq mi).[5] The desert has been of scientific interest since a 1986 expedition by the Royal Geographical Society documented the diversity of the terrain, the flora and fauna, noting 16,000 invertebrates as well as 200 species of other wildlife, including avifauna. They also documented 150 species of native flora.