Oman- Holidays may see tourist numbers to Salalah rise

(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Salalah witnessed a poor tourist inflow, registering a sharp drop in the number of visitors due to Ramadan. The region, however, is expected to see a turnaround during Eid holidays.

The place saw only 8,397 visitors between August 2 and 11, although it is the best time of the khareef season when Dhofar turns verdant and temperatures hover in the mid 20s.

Overall, comparing the total number of visitors to last year for the period from June 21 to August 11, the drop has been a massive 52.4 per cent.

The khareef season officially starts on June 21 every year and lasts till September 21. During this period, the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), in cooperation with Ministry of Transport and ROP, carries out a survey to keep a tab on the number of visitors to the Dhofar governorate.

The survey revealed that 133,695 tourists visited Salalah between June 21 and August 11 as compared to 281,402 for the corresponding period last year.

With only 12,922 visitors recorded between July 18 and August 1, as compared to 113,382 for the same period last year, the next few days during Ramadan never seemed to have looked promising, which was proved with just 8,397 tourists visiting the southern governorate for the ten-day period till August 11, said an official at NCSI.

Interestingly, last year the number of visitors recorded till August 1 (275,921) had crossed the total number of visitors (262,203) witnessed during the entire 2010 khareef season.

However, with Ramadan getting over and the start of long Eid holidays the season is sure to get a boost, said the official. And with all the flights to Salalah and ONTC buses already booked much in advance, and many planning to drive to the city, the numbers are going to swell. 

With 82,364 tourists, Omanis formed the bulk of the people travelling to Salalah, followed by GCC residents with 30,591 visitors. The rest constituted of Arabs (2,488), Asians (16,430), Europeans (1,212), US (405), Africans (109) and Oceanians (95).

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