Kaushalendra Singh –
The tour operators in Salalah are busy making plans and packages for cross-country tourism due to this new demand emerging from a large section of tourists. Earlier it was happening on demand from some tourists who wanted to see places other than Salalah and Dhofar. Now the numbers are increasing as many of them are demanding to see Oman’s cross-country.
This involves customised tour plans as per the requirement of the guests. Commenting on this trend Vish Ranasinghe, General Manager Tourism Department of Al Fawaz Tours said, “Tourism a very delicate sector. The services travel by the words of mouth. Either you serve your guests or you do not serve. There is no in between. If your customer is happy, you will get more customers and if he is not happy you may have to close your shop.”
“Their consistent demand forced us to module packages as per their requirement, as we saw a new business potential and our duty to serve our guests up to best of their satisfaction so that we get maximum number of tourists,” he said.
Ranasinghe designed a package titled ‘Oman Crossing’ which is a trip from Rimal Al Sharqiya to the Rub al Khali desert in the southern Dhofar Governorate via coastal terrain of Oman.
“In this package we let our guests experience the diversity of landscapes in Oman. We take them to the most remote areas of Oman to let them witness the lifestyle of the Omanis living in the villages far away from the cities. Cross the vast deserts of Arabia. Spend nights under the clear sky and watch the sunset at a beach.”
The route for country crossing depends on the choice of the guests. “Since we have expertise, we prefer Wahiba, Qihayd, Khalouf, Duqm, Ras Madraka, Al Jizr, Wadi Ayninah, Shuweimiya, Wadi Shuweimiya, Shalim, Marmul, Shisr, Hashman, Thumrait and Salalah,: said Ranasinghe.
The cross-country tour is covered generally in six days with several activities including experiencing the desert and swimming into the ocean. In between the tourists get to see some interesting things like stunning landscape of Oman and Rock Garden at Duqm.
“Hiking in one of the wadis (water canals), experiencing Red Lagoon and bird colonies, spending time at Ubar, the lost city and watching sunset over the sand dunes in Rub al Khali desert are some highlights of the tour,” said Ranasinghe and added that there are many interesting things in between.
Ranasinghe endorsed this trend as very positive and good also for local tour guides and businesses associated with tourism. This sector, according to him, is bound to grow more in the coming days.
Kaushalendra Singh –