SALALAH, June 10 – With the system gearing up for the khareef season and the Salalah Tourism Festival (STF), the locals and visitors are likely to have an exciting time all through the season. The festival organiser, Dhofar Municipality, has already started work on all fronts including giving facelift to the festival ground in Iitin and finishing touches to expansion works on internal roads in Salalah. The organisers have plans to set up more event facilities in Salalah, Taqah and Mirbat, as the plan this year is to reach out to locals and visitors on a large scale.
New sites are being identified to hold events besides the Iitin Festival Ground and Samaharm Tourist Village. Sahalnoot is going to be a big crowd puller due to exciting hot air balloon entertainment event. Preparation for this is also under consideration and the event station would be somewhere very close to Ain Sahalnoot. People in Salalah are hopeful of a good khareef season and improved arrangements in terms of services and facilities so that more and more tourists from the neighbouring GCC countries visit and give a boost to local businesses.
Among this year’s attraction are an exhibition of traditional and global village concepts, which in totality serve as entertainment to people of all age groups with specific choices of shopping in the global village where more than 1,000 craft persons showcase their skills and products, souvenirs and other objects at the khareef festival.
“This year’s khareef festival would have a close collaboration of public and private sector, which will be reflected at different venues including the Global Village where hundreds of stalls would be set up by both Omani and foreign entrepreneurs,” the official said.
Folk artistes from many countries are likely to participate in the festival to make it more representative.
“We are working in close coordination with all the departments to offer an entirely different experience to our guests from neighbouring GCC and other far off countries,” he said.
In terms of accommodation also, the season is likely to be smoother, as many new buildings have come up in and around Salalah. “Many hotel rooms have been added and supply of hotel apartments and furnished houses is much more than previous years.”
Inter-wilayat competition of traditional song, dance and folklore has always been a centre of attraction among the festival visitors. Last year, many traditional folklore shows were performed by troupes showcasing the rich heritage of Oman.
Modalities of game shows and performances by international troupes are being finalised, as many countries have shown interest in taking part in the festival.
The festival is more popular as khareef festival due to a rare geographical phenomenon of delicate drizzling, which begins in the last week of June and continues till September.
The whole of Salalah turns green during this time, giving a rare feeling to the tourists especially those who visit from the arid zone countries where the rains are rare phenomenon.