After a decline in Ramadan, the number of visitors to Salalah surged during the Eid holidays, taking the total figure beyond the 300,000 mark. Recording a total of 328,687 tourists till September 5, the city saw such a rush after a gap of two years. In 2009 and 2010, the visitor numbers dwindled to 293,043 and 262,203 respectively. However, this year, volumes were robust since the beginning of the Salalah Tourism Festival on June 21.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of National Economy (MoNE) in co-operation with the Ministry of Transport and Communications and ROP, there as an increase of 38.6 per cent in the number of tourists visiting the Dhofar region till September 5, compared to the same period last year. In 2010, only 237,131 tourist arrivals were recorded.
Although the number of visitors declined sharply with the start of Ramadan, with only 8,534 tourists between August 1 and 17, the numbers rose significantly during the extended Eid holidays. For the next 20 days, from August 18 to September 5, the numbers soared to 44,232. The largest number of tourists - 10,627 – was recorded arriving on August 31, and 8,204 on September 1. However, the highest number for the entire season was recorded on July 21, with 19,906 visitors.
With a total of 221,800 visitors, Omanis formed the majority of those travelling to Salalah, followed by GCC residents (75,023). The rest constituted Arabs (4,085), Asians (25,679), Europeans (1,393), Americans (399), Africans (133), Oceanians (174) and one of unknown nationality. The survey also found that the majority of people (299,781) travelled to the Dhofar region by road while 28,906 chose to travel by air. An official from the MoNE's survey department said that a good turnout had been expected this year. “The rains came in at the right time, and then there was the Ramadan factor, which was a positive.” Also, with many other destinations in the region witnessing political turmoil, Salalah proved to be an ideal place for many to spend their summer vacations at,” he said.
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