Salalah holds great potential for ethnic tourism

At a time when the whole world is facing the crisis of maintaining originality, there is one place on the world map where true essence of nature and culture is still there. The feeling of being here is so strong that you need not go essentially to a museum to witness how it would have been some years ago. It did not lose its essence despite huge interventions of development and drastic changes in people’s lifestyle. This is Dhofar, the southernmost governorate of Oman. It has witnessed massive development in last 47 years in terms of physical and social growth.

The physical developments have given the residents and visitors wider options to access the breadth and width of Dhofar in a better way and appreciate its heritage and culture, while social development has given educational empowerment social assurance to all the citizens of the country. “This gives Salalah strong potential to emerge as the place for ethnic tourism. The place has strong history and the authorities have successfully protected its heritage and culture… this is something which is missing in many parts of the world. I hope the coming generations would maintain same spirit while doing development,” said Marco, a tourist and a heritage expert from Italy.

A first time visitor in Salalah, Marco finds the place interesting both for nature lovers and history lovers. “Journey is my passion and I love to understand the culture and history of every place I visit. In Salalah I find lots of scope for those who have passion for understanding cultures around the world.” “What is unique about Salalah is the fact that people are still rooted to their culture while maintaining nice pace with modernisation… they ride big cars but still keep camels and still they are part of their lives.” Marco managed to visit some old houses to find that every old house had some place to keep camels and some area was dedicated to business activities.

For him the whole set up looks like a virtual museum, as the people here also have vast human values and are ready to extend help unconditionally. “It is amazing to see their confidence in traditional dresses, as they mix comfortably with expatriates in hypermarkets and streets.” The historical sites of Samharam, Shisr and Al Baleed hold great importance for Marco, as all the sites have to tell the rich history of Oman and in essence many old practices are still common among the locals. “I am happy to see that they are eating traditional food with some moderation in cooking pattern, which is understandable due to challenges of environment conservation and use of gas etc instead of wood and hot sand,” said Marco.

Kaushalendra Singh