Tourism constitutes one of the main pillars of economic development in the Governorate of Musandam, which is experiencing steady growth in the number of visitors and cruise ships.
This stems from the fact that Oman’s northern governorate boasts major natural assets that are enhanced by the modern infrastructure of the tourism sector and development projects.
In addition, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism undertakes great efforts to highlight the governorate’s unique features that combine adventure tourism, leisure facilities, cultural tourism, and heritage tourism.
Musandam is a destination for a range of tourists including those who love adventure, recreation, culture, heritage, and other forms of tourism.
To highlight the tourism potential of the Governorate of Musandam, the ministry is organizing a three-day 'Musandam Tourism Carnival’ from Wednesday at Bussah Beach in the Wilayat of Khasab, with various activities and entertainment programs that target all segments of society.
The ministry has implemented many promotional campaigns highlighting the elements of the governorate and the experiences and activities it provides to visitors.
The campaigns included 'Musandam al Jamal' in early 2021 and other promotional packages provided by Omran Group and Oman Air.
The national airline operates about 6 weekly flights between Muscat International Airport and Khasab, in addition to marine voyages to Musandam operated by the National Ferries Company.
The Governorate of Musandam is also considered one of the main destinations to host representatives of major international tourism companies and media representatives from the targeted markets, with the conclusion of strategic partnerships that introduce Musandam as a world-class tourism destination to international travelers, along with focusing on the diversified tourism products, including mountaineering activities and diving, where Musandam enjoys the most beautiful and best diving sites in the region.
The distinguished geographical location of the governorate is also one of the most important features that it enjoys in terms of its location on the Musandam Peninsula, which overlooks the Strait of Hormuz, in addition to its fame over the ages with several titles and names of tourist significance, such as 'The heads of the mountains' or The land of mountains”.
The geographical location makes it a major tourist destination for the inter-tourism movement from the United Arab Emirates.
There are 46 historical and archaeological monuments in the governorate, including towers, mosques, forts, and castles, including existing, semi-existing, and extinct monuments. It also includes three ancient tombs and 115 historical lanes.
Nawfal bin Mohammed al Kamzari, Assistant Director of the Heritage and Tourism Department in the Governorate of Musandam, said: "The governorate enjoys an infrastructure befitting the tourism sector.
Till the end of 2022, Musandam had eight hotels with a rating of one to five stars. Having 512 rooms, these hotels have received 76,011 guests, with an occupancy rate of 22.8 percent, in addition to the guests of the hotel apartments and green lodges."
Nawfal added, "Cruise ships are also received on the designated berths at the port, where passengers disembark and board on bridges designated for this purpose."
He emphasized that the tourism sector in Musandam witnessed increasing growth with 58 cruise ships docked at Khasab Port from 2022 till the beginning of 2023.
'Main Chef 6', one of the most important ships, visited the governorate about 13 times.
There is also the MCSOPERA ship, which recorded an average of 22 visits in two years, with 18,999 visitors, as the number of visitors to historical monuments in 2022 reached 12,049.
Al Kamzari clarified that the ministry had put extra effort in developing Musandam's tourism sector.
"On the heritage side, the ministry attaches great importance to professionals and craftsmen, as many meetings were held to identify and address the most prominent challenges facing the development of small and medium enterprises operating in the tourism sector at Musandam.
"These meetings came out with many recommendations, including the importance of giving alternate opportunities to small and medium enterprises to promote their heritage tourism product within the pavilions of the Sultanate of Oman at the exhibitions, which are supervised by the ministry."
The ministry, according to him, coordinated with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Governorate of Musandam and tourism companies to provide kiosks to display handicraft products upon the arrival of cruise ships.
He pointed out that the ministry continues to promote tourism components in the Governorate of Musandam and has sought to prepare and strengthen promotional materials, brochures, maps, and instructions of interest to tourists who are coming to the governorate to serve the ultimate goal of Oman's Vision 2040.
The ministry also worked with many activists and social media bloggers to promote its tourism potential.
Al Kamzari also clarified that many projects were being implemented to support the tourism components in the governorate, including the ropeway project, which is a distinctive addition and a tourism product that will also activate adventure tourism.
It will pass through an altitude of 220 metres which passes over Khor Qadi and the Mukhi area, all the way to the Atana Khasab Hotel.
There are also projects in the governorate that focus on both heritage and tourism. Among the heritage projects are the rehabilitation and inventory of heritage monuments and the offering of castles and forts for investment.
The ministry is also exerting efforts to support and develop private museums, including the Madha Museum in the Wilayat of Madha and the Square of Shaikh Muhammad bin Saleh in the Wilayat of Dibba and the establishment of a visitor center for the archaeological site of Dibba, in cooperation with OQ.
The setting of this center will start soon during this year, after carrying out archaeological excavations at the site that lasted for about 10 years in cooperation with foreign missions and the employees of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, where more than 7,000 artifacts were found on site and more will be displayed in the museum.
The governorate of Musandam has also hosted the activities of the Xterra Musandam 2023 Championship, which is a global event that combines tourism promotion and adventure sports, and is one of the largest sports brands in mountain triathlon races, which consolidates the position of the governorate on the global map and its classification as a major destination for mountain sports in the region and globally.