Muscat: The National Centre for Statistics and Information data which was recently issued showed a decline in the number of visitors coming for Salalah Festival this year.
The report showed a slump in the number of tourists visiting Salalah this year by 29 per cent from June to July. A total of 22,356 visitors came to Salalah, compared to 31,356 visitors during the same period last year.
The report attributed the reason for the declining number of tourists to Ramadan falling in the peak season of autumn.
The report informed that a large majority, 97.9 per cent, of the tourists were from other GCC countries. These tourists prefer to visit Salalah which turns into lush, green landscapes with temperatures dropping below 30 degrees.
Entertainment, recreation and vacationing are the most important incentives for Omanis to visit Salalah.
Of the Omanis, 63.6 per cent said they preferred to visit Salalah, 21.1 per cent chose to visit friends and family while 14.4 per cent opted for a business trip as a preference.
The report pointed out that the number of the visitors from other GCC countries decreased by 10,605 visitors last year to just 6,213 visitors, a decline of 41.4 per cent. The number of Omani visitors also declined from 14,695 to 11,114 during the same period last year, while the number of foreign visitors declined by 40.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, Oman is working hard to develop its tourism infrastructure to support the economic growth that is expected to dip by 3.9 per cent in 2014, compared with 4.4 per cent this year, according to the median growth estimates by economists.
More investments are being pumped into the Salalah Airport to make it an international destination to attract more visitors to fly directly to Salalah without having to stop at any transit point.
Salalah Airport witnessed an increase of 14 per cent in the total number of passengers arriving and departing, reaching 333,982 passengers by the end of June 2013, compared to 294,209 passengers during the same period of 2012.
The CEO of Public Authority for Civil Aviation, Salim Al Aufi, recently said that the Sultanate will operate a new low-cost airline to challenge regional carriers such as flydubai and Air Arabia and attract business travellers and tourists to Oman.