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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Efforts ongoing to position Dhofar as year-round tourism destination

Multifaceted sector: Direct international flights, roadmap for regional tourism, among initiatives to boost tourist inflows
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Salalah: In a strategic move to solidify Dhofar Governorate's position as a year-round tourist destination, Salim bin Mohammed al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, convened a high-level meeting with key stakeholders from the country's tourism industry. Representatives from international companies, resort and hotel managers, airlines, airport specialists, and travel and tourism agencies participated in the discussions held on Friday.


The central theme of the meeting revolved around the development and promotion of Dhofar as a multifaceted tourist destination. Strategies focused on enhancing awareness of the region's captivating natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.


Additionally, the agenda emphasized improvements in tourism infrastructure, visitor services, and the creation of diverse travel packages catering to a wide range of interests and budgets. A critical aspect of the plan involves collaboration with airlines to establish direct flights from international source markets like Europe and Russia to Salalah Airport.


Later, in exclusive remarks to the Observer, Al Mahrouqi elaborated on the ministry's plans for Dhofar. He highlighted ongoing communication with Omran Group – the government’s tourism investment arm, travel agencies, and Dhofar's Governor to establish a roadmap for developing the region's tourism sector.


Acknowledging Dhofar's immense potential while recognizing existing challenges, he emphasized the importance of workshops and meetings to brainstorm solutions and pave the way for success. A multi-pronged approach encompassing ongoing projects, planned initiatives, and discussions with international investors is strategically designed to elevate Oman’s, and particularly Dhofar's, tourism offerings, he noted.


A central pillar of the development strategy involves establishing direct flight routes connecting Dhofar Governorate to key tourist markets. In conjunction with this goal, the Ministry is also committed to intensifying promotional activities to solidify Oman's position in established markets while exploring new ones. The focus lies on providing tourists with diverse experiences that cater to their desire for discovery and create lasting memories.


The Minister attributed the success of the previous season in Dhofar Governorate to the seamless integration and cooperation between relevant authorities. He further emphasized the exceptional outcome of Oman's participation in the recent ITB Berlin Travel Fair, highlighting the collaborative efforts of various sectors that contributed to this achievement.


Turning to other initiatives planned elsewhere in Oman, Al Mahrouqi said that landmark projects, such as the Al Jabal Al Akhdar initiative, are expected to significantly enhance Oman's competitiveness within the global tourism landscape. In this regard, he underscored the importance of promoting local content, increasing the sector's contribution to job creation, and implementing best practices in sustainability.


Looking ahead, participation in upcoming exhibitions like the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, and a London exhibition later this year, is planned. The Ministry is actively strategizing to ensure distinct and impactful participation in these events. Additionally, efforts are underway to target East Asian nations with a large number of non-tourist Umrah performers, with the aim of attracting them to Oman as a stopover destination on their pilgrimage journeys.


Following the high-level discussions on Friday, Al Mahrouqi, accompanied by ministry officials, embarked on field visits to assess the progress of ongoing projects and preparations for the upcoming Khareef season, renowned for its unique monsoon climate. These visits aimed to evaluate the readiness of tourist facilities, monitor development initiatives, and ensure the availability of essential services for visitor comfort.


Expressing his appreciation to all partners, the Minister acknowledged their vital role in propelling Dhofar Governorate's transformation into a global tourist hub.


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