LONG WEEKEND IS HERE: RESIDENTS OPT FOR STAYCATION AS AIRFARES INCREASE

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MUSCAT –

Both Omanis and expatriates are looking for perfect getaways to make best use of the long weekend.

The government has declared a two-day holiday for Oman this year for Isra’a Wal Miraj. Combined with the weekend people can enjoy four days off from work.

Those looking for overnight stays, Sur, Ras al Hadd (Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve), Masirah Island, Jebel Akhdar, Khasab in Musandam and Sharqiyah Sands are among the top choices. For day travellers Wadi Dayqah Dam and Bimmah Sink Hole (Hawiyat Najm Park) are considered good family picnic spots.

Local tour operators, hotels and restaurants are expecting brisk business during these holidays. A D Satish, manager of Coral Ocean Tours, said such holidays are quite busy. “The demand for dolphin-watching and boat rides is high during such breaks. Long weekends are a perfect period to enjoy our activities. We look forward to them and they are great for local tourism,” he said.

All roads lead to Sur

“Sur is among the most beautiful places while its suburbs make it a preferred family picnic destination. On the way is Quriyat which has many other beautiful attractions. This makes it perfect route to take during holidays,” said Hamoon al Farsi, a Seeb resident.

Some of the favourite spots in Sur are Ras al Hadd and Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve. From watching the turtles lay eggs to stargazing and bird watching the activities are numerous. Visitors can also check out some of the archaeological sites there.

Suraj Shroff, holiday manager at Zahara Holidays, said with the increase of around 35 per cent in airfares, the demand for local tourism has increased. “Long weekend boosts domestic tourism,” he said.

Scenic Jebel Akhdar

“I am planning to visit Jebel Akhdar with my family this time. There are so many places to explore in Oman itself. Moreover, international travel has become expensive so why not make good use of the local beauty and explore Oman’s scenic spots,” said Abdullah al Naamani, a bank employee and part-time adventurer and trekker.

Trek and explore

Naamani suggests trekking as another great option for short holidays. In Oman, trekking season runs from September to May. Despite the rough terrain, hiking remains the best way to enjoy the sultanate’s scenic places. From wandering around Muttrah, to following the groove edges of the Jebel Shams mountains, trekking enthusiasts can explore Oman’s most and less traversed spots at their own pace. For those who prefer a fixed tour, there are plenty of travel operators in the capital and other areas who provide comprehensive tours.

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