The Sultanate kicks off Oman and GCC’s first hot air balloon festival and first-of-its-kind carnival.
A host of exciting activities awaits tens of thousands of visitors who are descending this year on Dhofar, Oman’s southernmost governorate, for the three-month Khareef season, which officially began on June 21, 2019 and will run until September 21, 2019.
Diverse events have been organized to make sure that all visitors enjoy the season to the fullest. This year, Oman’s first hot air balloon festival is taking place in conjunction with Khareef season. People can ride in one of the more than 15 hot air balloons and bask in the spectacular views of the Salalah sky.
Additionally, a first-of-its-kind carnival is being held from July 20, 2019 to August 25, 2019, which is made possible due to the fruitful collaboration between relevant private sector institutions and government agencies led by the Ministry of Tourism. The Salalah Tourism Festival will remain one of highlights of the Khareef season, with the event set to feature several recreational, cultural, artistic, sporting, and commercial activities.
Tourists yearly flock to Salalah, Dhofar for the Khareef season to enjoy the area’s pleasant and cool weather, join in a myriad of activities, experience the frankincense culture, and explore its famous white beaches, blowholes, water springs, sinkholes, caves, and many more. Famous for its impressive mountains and green plains, the picturesque Salalah is a recreation and relaxation place for many tourists who are trying to escape the scorching heat of the summer season. During the 2018 Khareef season celebration, the governorate welcomed 826,376 visitors, up 28.1 per cent from 2017’s 644,931.
Within this perspective, the Ministry has been closely coordinating with concerned government and private entities to make sure that all visitors and tourists will have a truly memorable and safe experience during the Khareef season. It added that everything has already been set to welcome everyone and provide all travelers with prompt and accurate assistance.
The Ministry has launched massive campaigns to promote awareness of one of the most amazing seasons in the Arab Gulf nation’s Dhofar Governorate while summer stretches across the region. These initiatives have been featured in various traditional media and online news platforms. Part of the campaigns is the ongoing distribution of city guide materials highlighting hotels, top attractions, and things to do in Oman. The Ministry has partnered with tour and travel operators Holiday Factory, Wego, and Almosafer as well. Under their partnership, tourists can avail of special deals and packages, including discounted tickets and accommodations, when they book via the three websites their hotels in and flights bound for Salalah during the duration of the Khareef season.
Furthermore, the Ministry has embarked on active social media initiatives to reach as many people as possible, increase engagement, and boost destination awareness. Its official social media platforms display special holiday packages, special offers, and flash sales offered in both Muscat and Salalah on top of the occasional live footage of the Sultanate’s most famous tourist attractions taken by Ministry officials.
According to the Ministry, as part of its campaigns, it will also offer key incentives to visitors who will book any of the hotels operating in Oman.
In addition, the Ministry directed tourist information centers located in airports, commercial centers, and the city’s Entertainment Centre, which hosts the Salalah Tourism Festival activities, to provide visitors and tourists with information about hotels, restaurants, and famous tourist sites. It will also continue to distribute leaflets and other materials with road safety tips and content discussing local customs and traditions as well as ways to preserve and protect the area’s natural beauty and resources. The Ministry said it hopes that these initiatives will help international visitors and enable them to enjoy the natural, cultural, and historical richness of Dhofar.
Dhofar currently has 34 hotels, including renowned brands, with 4,115 hotel rooms and 6,312 beds.
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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.