Oman


Upgraded Masirah ferry services boosts Oman tourism


Each ferry has a capacity to carry 154 passengers at a time and can accommodate 38 vehicles. The time taken to travel between the two places is 40 minutes.– Supplied photo

Muscat: The launch of Oman National Ferries Company ferry services has given a big boost to Masirah tourism, according to experts involved in the hospitality sector.

Around 2,254 passengers and 496 vehicles used the JawaharatMassirah cruise service between August 14 and 20, Oman National Ferries Company officials said on Thursday.

Each ferry has a capacity to carry 154 passengers at a time and can accommodate 38 vehicles. The time taken to travel between the two places is 40 minutes. According to the authorities, each ferry will make four trips a day but the frequency will be later increased to 12 trips. The ferry was built at a cost of $14 million.

Logger-head turtles
A surfer's paradise, home to logger-head turtles and a perfect spot for birdwatchers, Masirah Island offers all that charismatic Oman holds in its nature treasure bag. "The number of tourists is growing in this small island ever since the NFC started their service," says Vijay Handa, General Manager, Masirah Island Resort.

Earlier,  passengers used to travel every day on very old ferries.

"But with the NFC starting its service, travel has become very smooth," says Handa.

The ferries of NFC ply between Shana harbour and Masirah Island, having started their service last week, and will soon increase their frequencies to cater to more tourists.

"Currently, we are operating four ferries and the number will be increased to 12," said a
senior official of the NFC.

"A lot of people used to avoid Masirah as there was no proper ferry service between the
two places.

"In fact, I can remember that a lot of people used to remain stranded for four to five hours at a time to take a ferry," Handa recalled.

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