Marine tourism diversifies, enriches nation’s economy

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 – Marine tourism in Oman is becoming popular due to its diverse forms and types. It has emerged as an important form of tourism in the country due to its geographic components and marine nature.The Sultanate’s beaches are spread across 3,169 square kilometres and this makes the country ideal to host marine games.

There are many forms of sporting, marine and water activities, most of which are much sought-after by tourists. Prominent among these activities are surface diving, dolphin watching, deep diving and sunset watching. There are many institutions in the Sultanate which promote marine tourism. Also there are hotels and fine dining restaurants to meet the requirements of tourists. They make an atmosphere of fun and entertainment.

Saleh bin Ali al Khayifi, Director of Tourism Marketing and Promotion in the Ministry of Tourism, said that marine tourism of various types has become popular in the Sultanate. Different activities include boat trips, sailing and diving trips, as well as watching dolphins.

Al Khayifi said that the Ministry of Tourism supports everything which helps the Sultanate in achieving added value and makes efforts to attract tourists to enjoy the beauty of Oman and explore its marine environment.

There are also many investment opportunities open for companies in this area to add value to the national economy. This is possible by doing feasibility study and understanding of the needs for related activities including marine tours of the Sultanate, said Al Khayifi.

He said that there are many companies which are already working in the area of marine tourism. They organise several activities and provide services in this sector. The Ministry of Tourism supports these companies so that it helps the tourism industry of the country.

The marine tourism in the Sultanate is booming every year. The influx of tourists who want to enjoy marine tourism is more this time of the year. This is because the weather is moderate and the water temperature is suitable for swimming on the surface or deep diving. There are several sites for cruises, whether in Muscat or in the rest of the Sultanate.

In most of the Sultanate’s beaches, there are companies which specialise in the field of cruises and provide services to Omani and foreign tourists, including in the Musandam Governorate, Bandar Al Rawdha Marina, Bandar Al Khairan Reserve, Dimaniyat Islands Reserve, Al Hallaniyat Islands and Sawadi Beach, Wilayat Sur in South Al Sharqiyah Govenorate, Duqm beach, Masirah island in Al Wusta Governorate in addition to Al Jissah beach and a number of sites in Dhofar Governorate etc. There are no beaches in the Sultanate where there is no tours organised.

DIVING

There are many places for diving in the Sultanate. This sports activity gives an opportunity to explore these areas and make it a tourism destination in future. The Sultanate of Oman has the huge treasure of coral reefs, astonishing marine biodiversity which has small and big sea organisms such as dolphins, sharks, and whales captivating eyes and mind of the people.

The Sultanate has lots of sites to practice diving which is very popular among foreign tourists. Some of these diving sites do not require many skills for diving. Diving in Muscat Governorate is easy because there is not much depth in the sea and water currents are less. There are also some places which need some diving skills. Some also require special training and use of high technology. However, each place has its own experience, beauty and charm. It encourages people to explore the depths of this place and its secrets.

One of the most famous places to practise diving in the Sultanate is Dimaniyat Islands Reserve, Bandar al Khairan Beach, Sawadi Beach, Al Hallaniyat Island, Masirah Island, and Al Fahal Island. They are beautiful because water is clean and there are different types of small and big marine organisms including sea crocodiles.

CRUISES

Many tourist companies specialise in cruises and organise several types of trips, including fishing trips, island tours, dolphin watching and sunset trips, etc. There are also many hotels which include recreational trips in the marine environment.

Dimaniyat Islands Reserve is one of the most beautiful places frequently visited by marine tourism enthusiasts. This is due to the presence of many types of birds and marine organisms.

Masirah Island in Al Wusta Governorate — the largest of the Sultanate’s islands — is known for being one of the best destinations for marine sports enthusiasts, especially for surfing, water biking, water skiing, diving and other activities. Paragliding competitions are held on these waves.

The island is known for its various types of birds, as well as diverse and rare marine life.

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