MUSCAT, JUNE 23 - As part of the khareef season, the Ministry of Tourism has launched different awareness programmes with focus mainly on protecting the ecosystem and preserving the social values in Dhofar Governorate. “Dhofar has always been an important part of the Sultanate’s natural beauty and a major attraction to tourists. The ministry believes that the campaign will lead to creating awareness about its protection,” said Amina bint Mohammed al Balushiya, Director of Tourism Awareness in the Ministry of Tourism.
She said that the ministry has been making efforts to invest in a sustainable manner to attract tourists from within the Sultanate and abroad.
“For this purpose, the ministry, during every season, launches awareness campaigns including distribution of leaflets and posters in addition to programmes through uses of social media,” Al Balushiya said. The response to the campaigns has been positive with rising cooperation from citizens, residents and visitors.
Al Balushiya has urged visitors who need hotel accommodation to do the booking well in advance to avoid last-minute hitches. “Visitors should develop a culture of advance booking, especially during khareef when hotel establishments have full occupancy,” she said. According to the director of tourism, there are 34 hotel establishments in the Dhofar Governorate. “Visitors can book either by directly contacting these hotel facilities through the numbers which are available in the tourism information centres of the ministry or its website www.omantourism.gov.om, ministry’s promotional website www.experienceoman.om, or calling on directory number 1010 or through the booking websites of these hotels,” she said.
Safety of vehicles
Al Balushiya said that the campaign also focuses on creating awareness about the safety of the vehicles they use to visit different tourists spots in the governorate. “Before embarking on a journey to any of the tourist destinations, the tourists must check their vehicles including the condition of the tyres to avoid accidents. If going to mountain tracks, the tourists should use four-wheel drive vehicles to avoid any slippages or accidents caused by moisture on the roads due to light rain,” she advised. She urged the visitors not to drive on the green paths to avoid damage to the ecosystem. “Violators will face penal action in accordance with the law,” she warned.
Al Balushiya said that the ministry used all active and effective means to increase awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism in the Sultanate. It also coordinates with prominent personalities to disseminate integrated awareness messages about the cleanliness of the tourist destinations through websites and social media accounts. She said that awareness messages are being sent in coordination with volunteers, college and university students and those with skills in paintings, cycling and photography in all the governorates of the Sultanate. The campaign also focuses on the importance of protecting and respecting local social values. Visitors should dress modestly as it is important in the Islamic customs, traditions and practices. The tourists must take care of cleanliness of the tourists spots as well.