Salalah prepares for an Eid without Khareef tourists

SALALAH: No one is able to answer when were the last Eid holidays that did not attract domestic or International visitors to Salalah in recent past. Everyone is clueless about this question. There may be variation in numbers – high or low – due to weather, but it never happened that there were no holidaymakers at all in Salalah during Eid.

Salalah attracted most domestic crowd when Eid fell in the middle of Khareef season for the visitors to enjoy the cool mist, pleasant breeze and refreshing drizzle of the Khareef season.

Even if Eid fell when there was no Khareef, people visited here to indulge in the Jewel of Arabia, to get the glimpse of life and time of Oman, which is incomplete without visiting Salalah.

This is Covid-19 pandemic due to which Salalah is bracing for an Eid without holidaymakers. The pandemic has played a spoilsport for small and big businesses and even mood of the local people, who otherwise would be more than happy to greet their guests from other parts of Oman and neighbouring GCC.

Said al Sahri, an apartment owner in New Salalah admits that the pandemic has robbed people’s happiness as everyone is living under the fear of the disease, which has spread its tentacles all over the world.

“This is the time I would have been busy giving a facelift to my apartment by bringing new furniture, painting of rooms and arranging things for the visitors to come to my apartment and stay, which in turn is good business for me. Unfortunately, I do not see any scope even during the season, as I have not done anything for the apartment as of now,” he said.

Even if there is good supply of accommodation in Salalah, Said had made a reputation of reasonable price and good facilities in his apartment and people would start asking for booking even before the announcement of Eid holidays.

Similar is the reaction of Jagdish Naik, Manager of Udupi restaurant. “Eid holidays and Khareef (monsoon) are the time when we do maximum business. This is for the first time since my arrival in Salalah, I am witnessing this situation. Salalah was never so silent during Eid. This is such a compelling situation that everyone is clueless and hoping against hope for the restoration of normalcy.”

There are many like Al Sahri and Naik, who are missing the humdrums of life and looking for an answer when exactly a situation like this had happened earlier.