With the khareef season in its fourth week, the hospitality sector in Dhofar governorate is recording increase in the occupancy level.
Marhoon bin Saeed al Ameri, director general of tourism in Dhofar, said that 35 hotels with 4,179 rooms are receiving tourists during this
season. “Keeping in view the popularity of the khareef season, many hotel establishments upgraded their facilities in recent months.”
He said that the hospitality sector is making huge efforts to promote the season through their websites and social media platforms. “Some of the hotels are run by international chains leading to the promotional efforts going global. Many hotels are offering deals to attract tourists.”
Ameri said that the efforts of hotels are complemented by the Ministry of Tourism, which too is promoting Oman at international forums. He said that the ministry plans to open a representative office in Saudi Arabia and Dubai in the UAE to focus more on the Gulf tourism markets.
Ameri said that Oman Air too is contributing to the promotional efforts of the khareef season.
He said that several Gulf airlines have started direct flights to Dhofar. “This will help increase the number of tourists from the Gulf markets, particularly as they comprise 30 per cent of the visitors arriving here annually.”
He lauded the efforts of Dhofar Municipality in promoting the khareef season inside Oman and abroad. “The Salalah Tourism Festival plays an
important role in attracting tourists for various recreational, entertainment, cultural and heritage activities.”
Ameri said that the addition of nine new hotels in Dhofar this year will help boost the tourism sector. “These accommodation facilities would balance demand and supply ratio and improve the quality of tourism services.”
The Dhofar governorate is known for its tourist attractions such as tomb of the Prophet Ayoub, Land of the Frankincense Museum, forts of Taqah and Mirbat, Al Marneef cave, in addition to the natural fountains on Mughsayl beach, Wadi Darbat, fountains in Jarziz, Sahalnut, Arazat, Hamran and other natural attractions.
“Tourists enjoy the beautiful weather for which the governorate is known for,” Ameri said.
Yazin Abu Awwad, general manager – marketing, Hotel Intercity Salalah, said, “The 70-room hotel is ready to welcome guests. We have upgraded many services to ensure 100 per cent satisfaction of guests.”
He said the hotel is offering deals through airlines like Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Etihad Airways. “We are the main sponsor of the first Balloons Carnival of Salalah. The khareef season is still in its early stage. We are expecting a surge in tourists in the coming days.”
Lilia Favina, director of e-Marketing at Millennium Hotel, said that the hotel is offering a number of programmes to enrich tourists’ experience.
“We organise tours to Wadi Darbat, Taqah, Ain Arzat and other natural and heritage sites of Dhofar. The bookings would increase by more than 75 percent soon. We have launched digital marketing campaigns in the GCC countries to attract more tourists.”
Qais al Ghassani, owner of Al Moayyad Rest House Salalah, said that the rest house has made several preparations before the onset of the khareef season. “It includes maintenance of the rest house and apartments to ensure visitors’ comfort. We have games for children and families.”
Ghassani said that tourists not only visit sites in Salalah but that they venture out to explore sites in other wilayats of Dhofar.
Mohammad al Shanfari, owner of the Al Mulook Lounge Ateen, said that the khareef season is the best time to visit the governorate. “We offer an integrated trip for tourists to visit many of the sites in the governorate such as Ain Athom, Mughsayl and Mirbat.”
Hossam bin Salem al Yafei, owner of Chalet Mariba, said, “The khareef season is a wonderful opportunity for tourists from different countries to enjoy exceptional weather of Dhofar governorate. Swimming pools for children and adults have been added to the facilities. Also, a jacuzzi was added to hot water bath.
The khareef season ends on September 21.