Over 233,000 tourists visit Jabal Akhdhar in 2017, up 43 pc

MUSCAT: The season of roses has begun in Jabal Akhdhar, also known as the green mountain, where buds are blooming to be flowers. With this, the arrival of tourists has also increased significantly which is more than the same period last year.
The occupancy rates in hotels since the beginning of March was between 80 per cent and 100 per cent. This is an indication that promotions campaigns in the world, particularly in the GCC and European countries were successful.
According to the 2017 statistics, during the months of March, April, May, there were 34,559 tourists who visited Jabal Akhdhar.
With 233,012 visitors by the end of 2017, there was a qualitative leap of 43.4 per cent over 162,499 during 2016.
Hamoud bin Khalid bin Saleh al Qamshoui, Director of Tourism in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, said that Jabal Akhdhar was famous for its many tourist attractions, specially the exceptional climate, where the temperatures are moderate in the summer and fall below zero in some parts of winter. This also helps in making environment suitable for multiple agricultural products and increases their yield.
He also said that one of the most important plants which the people of Jabal Akhdhar were keen to cultivate were roses. It is in good quality and abundance in the green mountain. The rose water industry has become a profession for many people of Jabal Akhdhar as a major source of income.
This season has become one important of the attraction for tourists who also want to know the method of manufacturing rose water in both traditional and modern means.
He said that the season of harvesting roses in Jabal Akhdhar was a major attraction. According to statistics, the number of tourists of Jabal Akhdhar are continuously increasing. This because of its characteristics and unique features, during the farming seasons which included the season of plucking roses in Jabal Akhdhar.
About the programmes offered to the tourists during the season of roses in Jabal Akhdhar, Al Qamshoui said that the tourists were free to walk in some of the agricultural areas where there are some villages also situated. They get opportunity to see the rose plants and watch the local people early in the morning plucking roses.
There are also some traditional factories which the tourists can visit, after coordinating with their owners, so that they can get to see the old method of manufacturing rose water.
About the future plans of the Ministry of Tourism for season of roses and meeting increasing demands of tourism, he said that the ministry has prepared a special booklet about the Jabal Akhdhar in which it has also included agricultural and harvesting seasons of the area.
Firas Rashid, Sales and Marketing Manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, said that since the beginning of the month of March, the demand for Jabal Akhdhar was very high and we see that there was a significant increase of tourists, if we compare the numbers with the same period last year.
This is due to the marketing and promotion of the tourist features of Jabal Akhdhar in the GCC and also in Europe.
There is a remarkable turnout from European countries, especially Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, France and Italy. Tourists have also come from GCC countries in large numbers. There was also large number of residents of the Sultanate who come to Jabal Akhdhar during the weekend.
Firas said that during the flowers’ season, the resort offered an important programme which included visit to the laboratories of rose water. The tourists accompany there with a tour guide who are from among the local people of Jabal Akhdhar.
During the tour, tourists are informed about the stages of the rose water processing.
Also there are many other activities for tourist. They including mountain tracking with its beginner and advanced stages.