SALALAH, Feb 18 - Hafa is so closely associated with the life of Salalah that any development on the seafront becomes talk of the town immediately. The ongoing demolition work has several versions as everyone has his own guesswork about the future development of the place. The place is going through second phase of demolition in which most of the private shops have been demolished and rest are serving notices to vacate the place as early as possible. All the old houses were demolished in the first phase in 2015.
Left only near the Al Husn Palace is the Frankincense Souk, which is huge source of attraction among all sorts of tourists coming to Salalah. Of late it has emerged as a meeting point for people who sit and share their own fragmented knowledge about the place while sipping beverages of their choice.
“I really don’t know what kind of development is going to happen here, but I am sure that some good development will happen keeping in mind the location and importance of this place among the local people of Salalah,” said Abdullah, a retired government employee.
He admitted that he had been associated with this place when he was a young child and would come here along with his father, who would tell stories of his father and his house in Hafa.
“I come here almost daily. There is something which attracts me to this place and I feel incomplete when I don’t come here,” said Abdullah amid nostalgic hope of some development of the place that “allows him to come as frequently as today.”
Said also has same feeling about the place. “Any story about Salalah would begin from Hafa and end there due to people’s long association with the place… My father would say that this was the only market in Salalah not many years ago and there was belief that if something which you are not getting anywhere, you will get in Hafa. And that faith was not out of place because it was a common man’s market where everything from agriculture tools to perfumes, frankincense, clothes and even traditional food, was available.” Said has heard about some tourism project coming here with huge waterfront and some accommodation units for tourists. He, however, suggested keeping the beach intact with access to all kind of visitors like it is today.
“In all likelihood there is a plan to develop a small traditional resort in the first phase. Prominent among all these developments would be the waterfront with the provisions of cafes and other recreational facilities,” said another source while putting stress on the fact that the Frankincense Souk should be there in the development plan.