Tourists flock to Oman’s lush green Salalah

om salaSalalah, the capital of the Dhofar region, is a colourful, subtropical city that owes much of its character to Oman’s former territories in East Africa. Flying into Salalah from Muscat, especially during the khareef, it is hard to imagine that Oman’s first and second cities share the same continent. From mid-June to mid-August, monsoon clouds from India bring a constant drizzle to the area and, as a result, the stubble of Salalah’s surrounding jebel is transformed into an oasis of misty pastures. Year-round, Salalah’s coconut-fringed beaches and plantations of bananas and papayas offer a flavour of Zanzibar in the heart of the Arabian desert. season” exceeded 604,000. Number of visitors to Khareef Salalah “Monsoon season” exceeded 604,000, registering a rise compared to the same period last year. Omani citizens comprised 74 per cent of the total visitors.

Until the end of August 28, 2016, the number of visitors stood at 604,990, a rise by 21.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2015, according to the statistics of a survey conducted by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) for Khareef visitors in 2016. Omanis came first as their number reached 447,713 constituting 74 per cent of the total visitors to the Governorate of Dhofar and an increase by 21.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2014. Visitors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came second of the total visitors and first at the level of the GCC countries as they stood at 57,079 constituting an increase by 13.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2015.

Saudi visitors came third out of the total GCC visitors reaching 25,139 representing an increase by 39.5 per cent compared to the Saudi visitors in 2015. Visitors from Bahrain stood at 5,981 whereas Kuwaiti and Qatari visitors stood at 5,957 and 6,810 respectively. Visitors from other Arab countries stood at 12,833, while the Asian visitors represented 4.7 per cent of the total visitors to Dhofar as they reached 40,056, the majority of them were Indian (23,220 visitors). The number of European visitors rose by 23.8 per cent to reach 2,136. Visitors from American countries also rose by 5.5 per cent to stand at 810. Visitors from Africa and Oceania stood at 267 and 180 respectively.