MUSCAT, Oman – Oman’s virgin landscapes, pristine beaches and pleasant climate continue to attract local and foreign tourists.
“During the last few weeks, after the mercury level started to dip, visitors have been thronging the Qantab beach. More and more local and foreign tourists are coming to spend their holidays at the beach. It’s a busy time for us,” Mohammed, a boat driver who has been taking visitors for an adventurous ride into the sea for the last five years, said.
“The calm waters and rock formations never fail to wow the tourists,” Mohammed said, adding that he manages to make about 10 trips in a day during these months.
There are around 20 boat drivers who are ready to take tourists into the sea during peak season, with each hour long trip costing around OMR10.
A family from Dubai, which is touring Oman, said that Qantab was the most beautiful place they visited in the Sultanate.
“The boat ride was awesome. We enjoyed it a lot. It was a memorable experience. Moreover, the locals are quite helpful and polite,” the family from Dubai said.
“We had heard about Qantab’s mountain and sea beauty a lot. It was quite an interesting experience,” the family said.
Other than boat rides, visitors were seen hiring boats for fishing excursions.
“Fishing excursions cost a little more than a usual boat ride as we need more time. Usually, tourists from western countries prefer fishing excursions. Qantab Sea is one of the best locations for fishing excursions which will not disappoint you,” Mohammed added.
Oman has attracted roughly 2.1 million visitors in 2013, 50 per cent more than the previous two years, according to the tourism ministry.
More than 37 per cent of visitors last year came from Gulf countries, although Oman is also attracting a growing number of tourists from Britain, Germany, the United States and other Western nations, the tourism ministry’s data showed.
The country also invested more than $660 million last year in new hotels and other tourism assets, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.