Dhofar begins to receive tourists for Khareef

SALALAH: The Governorate of Dhofar started receiving its visitors for the Khareef season which runs from June 21 to September 21 every year.
Khareef is a unique phenomenon in the Sultanate that affects most coastal wilayats in the Governorate of Dhofar from the Wilayat of Dhalkout in the west till the Wilayat of Mirbat in the east. The phenomenon is called monsoon and it starts from June 21 each year.
During this season, Salalah is transformed as a tourist destination for family tourism from the Sultanate and the Gulf region.
During this unique climate condition, the private and public sector organisations are prepared to receive visitors and tourists by providing them with the facilities and services that meet their needs.
The Governorate of Dhofar includes various natural environments, such as silver beaches, soft sands, a range of mountains, valleys, flat plains, deserts extending to the Empty Quarter, water springs throughout the country, natural fountains and various caves.
The Salalah Agricultural Plain is also characterised by various tropical agricultural products, the most famous of which are coconut, banana, papaya, sugarcane along with beautiful lagoons, natural reserves, rich livestock and marine resources.
The beauty of nature is complemented by many historical monuments and landmarks, which tell the cultural and historical dimensions of the region, adding a cultural dimension to this governorate.
The Al Baleed Archaeological Park is considered one of the most important sites to be visited. It includes the Land of Frankincense Museum, which includes a comprehensive view of the Sultanate in its different regions and time stages, in addition to the historical Samharam Park and historic castles in the wilayats of Taqah, Mirbat and Sadah.
The governorate is also famous for its production of frankincense, whose tree is a symbol of the Governorate of Dhofar, and represents the main trade item in the South of the Arabian Peninsula in the past and an important source of income.
The governorate is famous for producing the finest frankincense in the world due to its favourable environment for growing its trees.
There are also some beautiful tourist attractions that tourists are keen to visit, such as the plains and mountains, especially Ittin Plain, and the Hamreer Plain, as well as the main water springs scattered throughout the governorate, mainly Rizat, Garziz, Hamran, Sahalnot, Athom and Darbat.
The Al Mughsayl Beach area attracts many tourists to see Al Marnif Cave, natural fountains, visiting traditional markets, frankincense shops, Omani sweets and local fresh produce shops, especially bananas, papaya, sugarcane and coconut.
At the level of accommodation services in the governorate, hotels in Salalah have begun to prepare to receive the heavy load of customers during Khareef season, as well as hotel apartments, villas and apartments through improvements, maintenance and development. Salalah is witnessing the addition of several new hotels to accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists in Khareef season.
There are about 32 hotel establishments in the Governorate of Dhofar with 3,499 hotel rooms and an expected 1,851 hotel rooms by the end of this year.
The malls and shops of the city are also witnessing a remarkable development, in addition to Salalah markets, which are rich in the traditional products and industries of the season, especially the shops selling frankincense, incense, silver industries, bakery, Omani sweets and agricultural products.
The Ministry of Tourism has updated the printing of the tourist map of Dhofar for 2018, in addition to providing essential services for visitors, such as the operation of temporary tourist information centres, in addition to the permanent centres at land outlets and Salalah Airport, as well as the municipality recreational centre.
The centres provide tourist information, assistance and guidance to visitors and tourists, and provide them with brochures and guide maps that include data on hotels, hotel apartments, restaurants, markets, tourist attractions, archaeological sites and fuel stations, in addition to their suggestions.
The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) has began conducting Khareef Salalah 2018 Visitors Survey which will continue till September 21.
The survey, which is carried out for the 15th successive year, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Royal Oman Police contributes to providing data and information that reflect the status of tourism sector in the Governorate of Dhofar during the season.
Such data will help in planning this vital sector. The project aims at identifying the size of local and foreign tourism during the Khareef season and decide the growth trends during the past periods. It also aims at studying the demographic and economic features of visitors and the tours.
According to Khareef Salalah 2017 Visitors Survey, the total number of visitors last year stood at 644,931, while the total expenditure during the season last year amounted to RO 66.3 million. — ONA