Tourism and the ‘mysterious challenge’

Summer is still scorching here. And now is the perfect time for people to take a long refreshing break. No doubt, we all have been impatiently waiting for the summer break. A short break is always needed to refresh our memory and recharge ourselves.
As summer is mostly associated with tourism and travel, people eye different destinations all around the world where they can have a good time and great moments with family, friends and loved ones.
On the other hand, some people prefer to travel within the country. These days, we see a lot of people travelling during summer holidays. Perhaps it’s becoming common.
However, a common observation is most people prefer to spend their holidays overseas. Although it mounts a burden on families, travelling in summer has become a priority for many during this season.
They prefer to go out of the country, exploring the cultures of other nations, sightseeing as well as meeting the people. Some might even wonder why they don’t spend time and money in the country instead.
As a matter of fact, it’s all about what people like and what their interests are. However, all of this is not available in our country. Except for some natural sightseeing and historical landmarks, there is nothing that attracts people’s attention. Even those attractions have not been well-maintained or prepared to attract tourists.
Although Oman is very rich with unique, historical tourist destinations and natural attractions, some of which are “one of a kind”. However, unfortunately they have not been paid enough attention. Not much investment has been made to improve the tourist destinations.
There is no proper shade or rest areas where people can spend the day out. No necessary services or children’s entertainment facilities have been provided. Many places of tourist attraction have been given a “cold-shoulder”.
Though all that it requires to make those places key tourist destinations is a little out-of-the-box thinking. Sometimes, even small ideas can change a place and make it a tourism hub not only for locals, but those from outside the country.
A case in point is Salalah, which is regarded as a worldwide tourist destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists. However, other than the greenery and nice refreshing weather, there is nothing to entertain people there.
In fact, so many popular tourist destinations within the country require sufficient investments in order to attract tourists. We wonder what is the “mysterious challenge” that is preventing the authorities concerned from developing and investing in tourism landmarks in Oman?
Is it so challenging to make more investments in the tourism sector? Perhaps, if given a chance, the private sector could extend support by making more efforts and investments.
Why not let some specialised local or international corporates handle tourism and they might come up with some valuable projects. Possibly, they could bring in more investments, tourists and business opportunities to the country. Businessmen could be given an opportunity to contribute to tourism. In other countries, we have seen many simple entertainment activities and projects being implemented. With all facilities that we have, we could have done far better. Probably, we need proactive people who can think out of the box and come up with cost-effective projects.

Abdulaziz Al Jahdhami