SALALAH, Oct 1 – The first international climbing event at Jabal Samhan has opened new vistas for adventure tourism in Salalah, as the participants from ten countries appreciated the uniqueness of nature in Salalah and presence of all possible elements for such events.
“There is nature, culture and support from all quarters for such events. When I started organising the event three months back I was not sure about its success, but I was surprised to see more than 100 participants from ten countries and excellent support from authorities,” said Ali Khalil Husain of Hussak Adventure.
“After the event I realised the potential of Salalah not only in terms of destination, but also for some excellent climbers. The top two climbers were from Oman and I am sure there are many who could not take part in the event due to various reasons… since the news about the successful event has been spread far and wide, we are expecting better events in future in Salalah,” he said.
The event, Arabian Leopard Challenge, was organised jointly by the Directorate of Tourism in Dhofar and Hussak Adventure on Friday. It saw participation from United States, GCC countries, Alaska, Sweden and Lebanon. The first two toppers were from Oman, while the third ranker was a British national. Among women, the first and third rankers were Saudi national, while the second ranker was again an Omani.
Following were overall winners of the 50km Jabal Samhan crossing competition: Amer al Amri (first, 3 hours 53 minutes), Abdulwahid al Murshidi (second, 4 hours 14 minutes), and Andrew Clarke (third, 4 hours 30 minutes).
Among women, Hala al Wagdani stood first (5 hours 56 minutes) while Nadirah al Harthy (6 hours 33 minutes) and Nada al Khalifa (6 hours 37 minutes) came second and third respectively. “We are working closely with the Ministry of Tourism with a view to rebranding the country from luxury destination to adventure tourism destination. With this the destination would have benefit of both — luxury and adventure tourism destination,” said Ali.
“There are known adventure tourism destinations like Alsaka, New Zealand Iceland. I find all the elements of these places here in Oman and to some extent more interesting features for adventure tourism… people can come here from Europe, Africa and many other countries.”
Salalah, according to him, has unique features with Khareef, spring, winter, and summer seasons. It has ability to attract tourists all through the year. He has plans to incorporate products which would have appeal to ‘spend full year in Oman’.
Marhoon bin Said al Ameri, Director-General of Tourism in Dhofar Governorate, expressed happiness over the adventure event and exhorted the tour operators to incorporate interesting elements in their tourism products.
Hala al Wagdani, who emerged first in the women category, was impressed with the event and its venue, which according to her is a perfect destination for such events.