Over 220,000 people visited Wadi Bani Khalid of North Al Sharqiyah Governorate in 2019, according to the Ministry of Tourism. They came for hiking and swimming.
The number of Omani visitors reached about 65,476. Among other Gulf nationals, the Emiratis topped the list followed by Bahrainis. The number of other Arab nationals who reached Wadi Bani Khalid was 7,245. European tourists who came here during this period were approximately 88,662. There were 54,634 Asians and 3,688 American tourists who visited Wadi Bani Khalid in 2019.
The first and last quarters of the year 2019 were the peak period for tourists to visit the water pools. During November, there was a significant increase in the number of Omani tourists. There were 10,529 Omani tourists visited Wadi Bani Khalid in 2019.
Talal al Shuaibi, Director of Tourism in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate, said: “The pools are one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Wadi Bani Khalid. Tourists from various nationalities come here throughout the year to enjoy the beautiful and varied nature of the wilayat and spend enjoyable times.
He said that the mountainous nature of the wilayat has helped in organising many types of activities and events. This is why tourists keep coming here throughout the year. “The activities in which the tourists participate are those of adventure tourism and various other sports or recreational activities. They are organised both in summer and winter. There are huge quantity of fish in pools and ponds which help in removing dead skin of the feet. It is one of the activities popular among tourists of some countries,’ he said. Al Shuaibi said that the natural tourism was appealing for athletes to practice sports, including mountain climbing and other adventure activities.
Al Shuaibi said that the “Maqal” cave, located at the top of the upper reaches of the water ponds in Wadi Bani Khalid, was one of the most important attractions. Here, tourist walks from the water pools area to the entrance of the cave.
The citizens can invest in tourism projects in Wadi Bani Khalid. Such projects are not harmful for the surrounding environment and make a source of additional income. This has positive impact on the gross domestic product. Al Shuaibi said that the Ministry of Tourism gave approval to one of the citizens to invest in a commercial plot overlooking the pools to build a tourist lounge consisting of 12 hotel rooms, a parking area for the residents of the rest house. The parking areas of the polls would have a mobile restaurant owned by a citizen to serve the tourists.
On the precautionary measures to protect visitors from the dangers in the pools, Al Shuaibi said that the Ministry of Tourism has renewed the contract with the Arab Beach Tourism Company to provide rescue and ambulance services in Maqal. This is required due to the continuous flux of large numbers of tourists to the site. All seven members of the crew of the company are local Omanis of the wilayat.
The Wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid is abundant with many traditional crafts.The Omani Craft House in the centre of the wilayat is one of the tourist attractions. It displays its craftwork such as palmettes, silverware and handicrafts, varied in shapes and sizes.
The sticks and shoes other decoration items, gifts, incense, perfumes and accessories attract visitors. There is a craft village in Wilayat Wadi Bani Khalid of North Al Sharqiyah Governorate. Local people, men and women, work here.
The Ministry of Tourism is working hard to strengthen the added value of the local society by allowing students’ companies which work under schools of the wilayat to showcase and sell their craft products to the tourists. It provides and kiosks and places to display.