Wadi Bani Khalid: One of the most prominent tourist destinations

Oman Monday 03/February/2020 18:05 PM
By: Times News Service
Wadi Bani Khalid: One of the most prominent tourist destinations

Muscat: The number of the people who visited Wadi Bani Khalid of North Al-Sharqiyah governorate increased to 220,230 in 2019, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism. This is because of the wilayat’s tourism potential, including water pools, which sees an influx of tourists throughout the year. They come here to enjoy hiking swimming and other sports.

The statistics indicate that the number of Omani visitors to the water pools, during 2019, reached about 65,476. Among other Gulf nationals, the Emiratis are the largest in number who visit these water pools. The number of Emiratis who came here during this period was 171, followed by 161 Bahrainis.

The number of other Arab nationals who reached Wadi Bani Khalid was 7,245. European tourists who came here during this period were approximately 88,662. There were 54,634 Asians and 3,688 American tourists who visited Wadi Bani Khalid in 2019.

The first and last quarters of 2019 were the peak period for tourists to visit the water pools. During November, there was a significant increase in the number of Omani tourists. 10,529 Omani tourists visited Wadi Bani Khalid in 2019.

Talal Al-Shuaibi, Director of Tourism in North Al-Sharqiyah governorate, said, “The water pools are one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Wadi Bani Khalid. Tourists from various nationalities come here throughout the year to enjoy the beautiful and varied nature of the wilayat and spend an enjoyable time.
“The water pools of the wilayat Wadi Bani Khalid are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. This is due to its water and biodiversity. It is one of the top destinations on the map of the tourists who come here throughout the year,” Al-Shuaibi added.

He said that the mountainous nature of the wilayat has helped in organising many types of activities and events. This is why tourists keep coming here throughout the year. “The activities in which the tourists participate are those of adventure tourism and various other sports or recreational activities. They are organised both in summer and winter. In a number of water pools and ponds there is a huge quantity of fish that helps in removing dead skin from the feet. It is one of the activities popular among tourists of some countries,” he said.

Talal Al-Shuaibi said that the natural tourism was appealing for athletes to practise sports, including mountain climbing and other adventure activities.

According to Talal Al-Shuaibi, the “Maqal” cave, located at the top of the upper reaches of the water ponds in Wadi Bani Khalid state, is one of the most important attractions. Here, there are tourist walks from the water pools to the entrance of the cave.

The tourism activities held in the wilayat have played a big role in attracting large number of tourists in the water pools area last year. There are many other qualities of the wilayat which help in the tourist movement throughout the year. The permanently flowing wadis are one of the major attractions. These wadis flow from the narrow passages on the southern side of the eastern Hajar Mountains.

Citizens can use the advantages of investing in the projects, which attract tourist and visitors of the water pools. Such projects are not harmful for the surrounding environments and make for a source of additional income. This has a positive impact on the gross domestic product.

Talal Al-Shuaibi said that the Ministry of Tourism gave approval to one of the citizens to invest in a commercial plot overlooking the water pools to build a tourist lounge consisting of 12 hotel rooms, and a parking area for the residents of the rest house. The parking areas of the water pools would have a mobile restaurant owned by a citizen to serve the tourists.

To protect visitors from the dangers in the water pools, Al-Shuaibi said that the Ministry of Tourism has renewed the contract with the Arab Beach Tourism Company to provide rescue and ambulance services in the water pools in the area of Maqal. This is required due to the continuous flux of large numbers of tourists to the site. All seven members of the crew of the company are local Omanis of the wilayat.
Traditional crafts

The wilayat Wadi Bani Khalid is abundant with many traditional crafts. The Omani Craft House in the centre of the wilayat is one of the tourist attractions. It displays its craftwork such as palmettes, silverware and handicrafts, varied in shapes and sizes.

The sticks and shoes, other decoration items, gifts, incense, perfumes and accessories attract visitors. There is a craft village in wilayat Wadi Bani Khalid of North Al-Sharqiyah governorate. Local people, men and women, work here.

The Ministry of Tourism is working hard to strengthen the added value of the local society by allowing students’ companies of the wilayat to showcase and sell their craft products to the tourists in the water pools area.

It provides kiosks and places for display. The ministry also organises training workshops of these students to tell them how to attract customers and about modern techniques for marketing of crafts.