Muscat: The new cruise terminal at Salalah will further boost the tourism industry in Oman and help it develop as a centre for cruise activity, industry experts say.
Percy Rana, inbound cruise in charge of Zahara Tours, which handled 24 cruise liners in Salalah, said that this move would give a tremendous boost to the tourism industry as it will attract more tourists to Salalah.
Source - Port of Salalah
"Besides, it will make Salalah a hub of cruise activity in the region," said Rana, while adding that currently the passengers are facing a difficulty as the cruise ships are parked close to cargo ships. "This is not liked by many tourists visiting Salalah," he noted.
M. C. Jose, CEO, projects and logistics, Khimji Ramdas, said that the market is not growing as there is no separate cruise terminal currently.
Lack of berths
"So ships visiting Salalah have to leave in the afternoon because of the lack of berths as a large number of ships engaged in anti-piracy activity visit that port," he said.
He also said that the port authorities should look after the interests of the small scale industries also. "This will help tourism to grow," he said.
Salalah Port on Sunday unveiled a detailed blueprint of its strategy to develop it into a key national and regional economic hub, creating business opportunities, employment for hundreds of people and diversifying the national economy over the next 20 years.
The vision includes: a cruise terminal, new government dedicated berths for security forces, functional connection to the GCC rail link and various other facilities for the cruise tourists.
A separate terminal will help the operations of cruise ships and passenger exchanges in Salalah, according to another tourism expert who handles a large number of cruise operations in Salalah. "With a dedicated facility for cruise ships, things are only going to become better for the tourism sector. We had a good season and expect a robust one this winter, too," he said. In 2013, 34 cruise vessels visited Salalah and till April 2014, the port received 21 calls and handled 19,125 passengers.
Manpreet Singh, chairman of Indian Social Club, Salalah, said that the new move will bring in people to invest in the Salalah free zone which will help generate more business in the future.
"This will also help the job market to grow for more and more citizens," he said.