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| 16 April, 2018

Diverse landscape attracts tourists to Oman's Musandam

Coastline has a series of beautiful aqueducts and labyrinthine corridors and islands

Image used for illustrative purpose.
The stern of the Jewel of Muscat is seen before it sets sail from Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, before setting sail to Singapore, from Oman February 16, 2010. The 18-metre ship, a reconstruction of a 9th century sailing ship, set sail from Muscat on Tuesday and is expected to reach its final destination of Singapore in June, according to the ship's website. REUTERS/Herbert Fernandes

Image used for illustrative purpose. The stern of the Jewel of Muscat is seen before it sets sail from Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, before setting sail to Singapore, from Oman February 16, 2010. The 18-metre ship, a reconstruction of a 9th century sailing ship, set sail from Muscat on Tuesday and is expected to reach its final destination of Singapore in June, according to the ship's website. REUTERS/Herbert Fernandes

REUTERS/Herbert Fernandes

Muscat: Musandam governorate saw 170,037 tourists visit in 2017, a growth of 5.3 per cent over the previous year.

The growth is due to the diversity of tourist attractions, which include high mountains and deep seas with sandy beaches.

The coastline has a series of beautiful aqueducts and labyrinthine corridors and islands, in addition to archaeological sites that showcase Omani history.

Musandam governorate has been promising opportunities for tourism investments. Hotels saw a remarkable occupancy rate in 2017, with the total number of guests touching 128,127.

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This has been reflected in the massive investments in the tourism sector, with approvals for setting up nine hotels and resorts. The 26 tourist companies in the governorate created 357 jobs for Omanis.

Mousa bin Issa Al Riyami, Advisor for Human Resources Development and Director in-charge of Tourism Administration in Musandam governorate, said the Ministry of Tourism had made Musandam governorate one of its priorities for sustainable tourism development, in accordance with the Omani strategy for economic development and the comprehensive plan for Musandam governorate in partnership with the private sector.

In the area of tourism promotion, Al Riyami said the governorate enjoyed a large share, thanks to the continuous efforts of specialists in the Directorate General of Tourism Promotion.

The plans were based on promoting the Sultanate of Oman as an integrated package, in addition to promoting each governorate.

Al Riyami said the province had paved roads that connect Khasab and Dibba through Jabal Harim and Wadi Khib Al Shamsi, which provided a great opportunity for the influx of tourists, especially adventure tourism enthusiasts.

The areas between Jabal Harim and Wadi Al Khib are an attractive destination for those who like climbing and exploration. The Ministry of Tourism had contracted with a company to develop a number of adventure tourism activities: six to eight mountain tracks, a track of the Sea of Oman (Obour Al Barzakh), a mountain climbing site, and tracks for mountain cycles.

Heritage tourism

He said heritage tourism was one of the main attractions in Musandam, which had many archaeological sites. The visitors to castles and forts in the province numbered 30,628 in 2017, which is 10% of the total visitors to castles and forts in the Sultanate. In the Khasab, there were many historical and archaeological monuments, prominent among them were the fortresses of Khasab, Al Kamazra, Burj Saybah, Burj Qabas Al Qasr, theTawi area in the village of Qada, the island of Miqlab and the excavations of Jabal Harim.

In Bukha, there were the fortresses of Al Bilad, Bakha, Al Qilaa, the historic grand mosque, Burj Al Murabba’a, Burj Al Qishsha, and sites of the Al Jidda area in the village of Ghamada. In Dibba, there was the fort of Dibba, Saybah, fort of Ghazzair, castle of Sabtan and the historical cemetery called the tomb of the commander of the army and the location of Saih. In Madha, there were a number of rock inscriptions scattered in several locations, which were drawings and writings dating back to the

pre-Islam era. There were archaeological sites of the iron age called “stores of ignorance”. There were also several historic towers or Burj in Al Andhar, Al Gonah, Hajar bin Humaid, in addition to the museum of Mohammad bin Salim Al Madhani.

Musa Al Riyami pointed out that Musandam had many soft white sand beaches such as Bissah and Hayut in Khasab and the shores of Hill, Tabib, Al Saifah in Bakha, beaches of Al Sout, Zughi, Al Sahma in Dibba. There were also oases spread in the mountains and valleys: Al Khalidiyah, Al Sei, Al Sahaseh and Al-Rawdah in Khasab. There were fountains such as Al Sei, Al Mehall, Al Mahhas, Al Raheeba, Wadi Khin in Khasab, Al Thawwarah and Lou in Bakha, Al Saqta in Dibba, Aflaj Al Adhid, Al Mutaridh, Al Shuraiki, Al Dair and Hajar Bani Humaid in Madha.

Mount or Jabal Harem is one of the unique natural monuments in Musandam governorate. It is located in Khasab and rises 2,087 metres above sea level. It is covered by snow during a few days in the winter.

In the waters of Musandam, there are a number of islands. Prominent among them are Umm Al Ghanam, Slamah, Al Khail, Musandam, Umm Al Tair, Al Tilgraph, Umm Al Fayyarain, Al Sawda and Abu Mukhalif. Umm al-Tair, located in the east also called Beidh Island, is home to a large number of migratory sea birds.

Cruises

Abdul Fattah Al Shehhi, owner of a tourism company, said: “The most important attraction for tourists to Musandam is traditional boat trips from the port to the Khorsham Strait. The tourists enjoy watching dolphins, swimming and diving to see unique fish and coral reefs. They camp at one of the beaches watching the sunset and the sunrise.”

© Muscat Media Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).