Ammar al Balushi and his partner Abdullah both know all the nooks and crannies of Bandar al Khairan. As co-owners of the small boating startup A Tourism, they spend almost all of their weekends in the different beaches of Al Khairan - Jebel Sifah area, located about 45 minutes away from the capital. Both gentlemen have a 9-to-5 job. Ammar is working in the banking industry and Abdullah in courier servicing. Both are lovers of the outdoors and the sea so they decided to capitalise in their passion. Today, they organise sea trips, setting up events places as well as providing activities like snorkelling, beach volleyball, banana boat rides and for those who have extra cash to spend, overnight camping.
Ammar and Abdullah are just two of the almost dozen of small boat operators providing different outdoor activities in Al Khairan. While small in operation, they provide the kind of entertainment that is not readily available in some of the remote beaches of Al Khairan.
During the National Day holidays, the duo was packed.
“We’d been at the beach for nearly three days organising different activities for several of the beachgoers,” Ammar said.
“During the winter season, business really does pick up. It’s just a series of bookings after bookings as people want to enjoy the cooler temperature outside, something that can be quite challenging at the peak of summer,” he added.
For their guests, Ammar and Abdullah go beyond the usual and provide exceptional and hands-on service at a very friendly price.
“On average, we charge between OMR10 to OMR15 per person, depending on the size of the group and the kind of activities they wanted. We have invested in different equipment for snorkelling, kayaking, and camping. Our basic service comes with tents, and we also have a buffet-style lunch if necessary and if our clients request for it,” he said.
During the winter, Bandar al Khairan becomes a preferred destination for those wanting private beach areas without travelling far. Located in an area peppered with small coves with white sand beaches, small boat operators often have a “first come, first serve” approach with each operator respecting the operation of their peers.
“Most of the boat operators here know each other. We have this unwritten rule than when a beach area is taken; then others should try and settle on other unoccupied beaches. We also have our different specialities, so it usually boils down to recommendations and what kind of experience the guest wants,” he said.
Since they also have regular jobs, Ammar and Abdullah can only do operations that fit their schedule. Their weekends are often spent organising trips, and there are some weekdays they take some time off depending on the client and other considerations.
by letting them taste homemade Omani food. This usually has a good impression on them, and our business thrive through word of mouth recommendation,” Abdullah said.
“For those interested, they can book the boating service at their convenience. Day tours usually start between 9 am till 5 pm,” Ammar said.
During the winter season, they have to turn away some requests as they are not able to manage more than one tour or event a day.
“Everything picks starting November until February. This is good for us. Inshallah, if all goes well, we will also be able to provide additional entertainment and activities for our guests,” Ammar shared.
The duo is looking into investing in jetskis and a newer boat with a bigger capacity to transport people. For inquiries and bookings, they can be contacted at +96891263239 or through their Instagram account @a__tourism.