Trail hiking promotes tourism and health

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 The Ministry of Tourism took a pro active role by organising a ‘Hiking trail on the Road to Frankincense’, which served the twin purposes of raising awareness for tourism while calling the participants to spread the message of fitness among the masses. “Health and tourism look like two parallel issues, but for me they are immensely interconnected as I believe that only a healthy person can think of pursuing tourism. The event evoked very good response due to participation from hospitality majors and an enthusiastic group of youngsters called Ard al Luban,” said Marhoon bin Said al Ameri, Director-General of Tourism in Dhofar Governorate. According to Al Ameri, someone having a healthy body only can think of the luxury of tourism, “otherwise he would be busy thinking only about his health.”
“I am happy to see participation from wide range of people, some representatives from luxury hotels and the community, including expatriates and some tourists,” he said. The seven-kilometre trekking started from Raysut Mosque and finished at Wadi Raysut, which is famous for naturally grown frankincense plantations.
Dennis D’costa, General-Manager of Hamdan Plaza Hotel, found it a nice opportunity to take part in the trekking, which “served the twin purposes of health and tourism.”
“I call it opportunity because I belong to hospitality sector where tourism is an important ingredient. The sector depends on the behaviour of local people. By such ventures they understand the value of tourist spots, their cleanliness and other strengths that boosts tourism.”
Apart from spreading the message of fitness, such events help boost team building of the participants. They create a situation for a multi-cultural society, which is an important ingredient of tourism sector.
Moreover, events of this nature are free from protocols which give the participants opportunity to interact and express freely, which give more space to tourists to understand the destination in a better way, said D’Costa.
He suggested organising such events more frequently and inviting tourists, particularly those who come from Europe. “It would be great hit among them because they love to explore and indulge in adventure tourism. It can be put in winter calendar, as this is the time when most of the charter tourists come from Salalah.”
Marwan Abdul Hakeem al Ghassani, Director of Tourism Promotion Department, endorsed D’costa’s thought and called the event an effort to “enhance the culture of adventure tourism, exploring the beautiful tourist places, highlighting the frankincense tree and its historical status.”
“Salalah has natural advantage of tourism in whole of the Gulf region. The destination attracts tourists from many European countries. Any boost to tourism is a boost ultimately to the economy of the country,” he said.

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