With congestion and limited scope of expansion, the central Salalah has given way to city’s expansion to the east and west of Salalah. The eastern part of the city is developing very fast. Places like Saada, Dahariz, Sahalnoot and Taqah, are emerging as Greater Salalah with further scope for expansion towards Mirbat. Everyone admits that in last five years development has been manifold in Salalah in terms of infrastructure and facilities. While new road links and bridges gave room for better connectivity and expansion in new areas; facilities like new public parks, hypermarkets and healthcare centres made the new areas self sufficient. They made solid ground for further development.
These developments also have impact on tourism. The tourists now have many accommodation options. Either to stay in central Salalah and feel the humdrums of the city or to stay in quite places like Saada, Dahariz, Sahalnoot, North and South Auqad. Now Salalah has plenty of options.
New housing units — both in commercial and domestic categories — in Saada, Dahariz, Sahalnoot, North and South Auqad — have minimised the rush of tourists in central Salalah so much so that some old timers living in central Salalah tend to ask “are there less tourists this year?” in contrast to the fact that 2016 Khareef (monsoon) season had maximum footfalls of 653,000 visitors.
Earlier central Salalah was the only location where most of the tourists would stay either in furnished apartments or in some group B hotels spread over in the city. Now the Greater Salalah is developing around Saada, Dahariz, Sahalnoot, North and South Auqad.
These areas have come up in a big way with all the facilities and most importantly availability of open and plenty of parking spaces.
The new Salalah Airport which opened in 2015 changed the whole dimension of Salalah. The massive link roads served as link not only to the city and the airport but gave way to construction of new houses in Itin, Awqad, Saada and Dahariz as people had option of a wider by-pass road and link free from traffic snarl ups and congestion. They could easily avoid the city and reach their destination in no time.
Salalah is expanding east and west. Eastern Salalah, however, is expanding on a faster rate due to new hotels coming up in Taqah and Mirbat and many new projects including Salalah Grand Mall, are in the pipeline.
Three big hotels — Rotana, Juweira and Al Fanar are located in Taqah. With one of the largest Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs) in Oman, Muriya has big development plans for this area. It has plans to develop seven high end hotels, five of which are beach front and two boutique hotels. Three among these seven hotels ‑ Rotana, Juweira and Al Fanar – are already operational.
Mirbat, the ancient port city of Oman, is also warming up with development activities. International chain hotel Marriott has been attracting tourists from many parts of the world, as the location suits to those who love serenity and tranquility amid nature.
Salalah is in for transformation and with huge tourism potential the city can emerge as a major non-oil revenue earner for the country.