Al Dakhiliyah: An escape from summer heat
The Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah has a variety of tourism components, which make it an important destination for domestic tourism throughout the year.
It is a favorite destination for foreign tourists as well as those who seek natural beauty, those who love monuments and forts, and those who are fond of exploring caves. According to Hamoud bin Khalid Al Qamshoi, Director of Tourism of Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, the mountains are the best place for those who wish to escape from the summer heat.
The Ministry is also making huge efforts to support the promotion and enhancement of tourism in a way that matches the nature and rich climatic conditions of the governorate. Al Qamshoi stated that there were more than 30 tourist establishments in the governorate. They include seven tourist resorts, 15 hotels, and two high-quality tourist camps. There is also a heritage retreat built based on the authentic and original Omani standards, as well as four guest houses and two green guest houses.
These varied types of hotels and the affordable rates they provide have contributed to making tourism more attractive in the governorate. About 45 tourist offices have been set up in the governorate to guide tourists. Almost all wilayats in Al Dakhiliyah governorate have natural attractions of various types. These offices provide explanation to the tourists on the variety of attractions and difference among them. The projects being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism help in promoting tourism. Recently, the ministry, in coordination with various concerned government organizations, has initiated several development projects, Al Qamshoi revealed.
He noted that these projects included the development and rehabilitation of castles and forts, in coordination with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture; the development of some old lanes; and meeting the residents in the area to encourage investment in these historical lanes. It has also taken up the responsibility of managing them by setting up private companies.
Speaking on the basic services provided to the tourists, Al Qamshoi remarked that the ministry encourages citizens, especially in tourist destinations, to set up public toilets, which the ministry takes on rent. This has been achieved in four tourist sites so far. These public toilets are in the eastern mountain or Jabal Sharqi, Wadi Gul road, Jabal Shams road, Wadi Fanja, and Wadi A’1la in wilayat Bahala. In addition to this, there are other ideas and aspirations which will be carried out based on the availability of financial resources.
Al Qamshoi added that the Al Dakhiliyah Governorate is considered the Jewel of Oman due to its geographical location in the heart of the Sultanate. It has varied tourism elements of geographic, historical, and cultural diversity. This makes it the best choice for various types of tourists. Its environment, sports, and cultural wealth, on the one hand, and diversity of topography and climate in some places, on the other, make it a unique choice for visitors from Gulf countries and other governorates of the Sultanate. Al Dakhiliyah Governorate has eight wilayats, namely Nizwa, Bahala, Samail, Izki, Al Hamra, Minh, Adam, and Bidbid.
Al Dakhiliyah Governorate has a number of historical and cultural sites. The visitors to the governorate have a number of choices. There are a number of famous historical castles and forts, such as Nizwa Fort, which is known for its circular shape. It is considered one of the oldest forts in the Sultanate. There is also Bahla Fort, which was listed as a world heritage site. Jibrin Fort is known for the art of defense structure. Beit Rodeida Fort is being developed to be converted into a museum of conventional weapons. The governorate has a number of Aflaj, such as Falaj Daris, Falaj Al Khitmain, and Falaj Al Malaki, which are also listed as world heritage sites. There are also old souqs or traditional markets, such as Souq Nizwa and Souq Bahla, as well as historical graveyards, ancient villages, and lanes.
Commenting on the highlands, which have become major tourist attractions during summer, Al Qamshoi explained, “The governorate also has many natural and geological sites, including high mountains such as Jabal Akhdhar and Jabal Shams. They are considered the most important tourist attractions in the governorate due to their unique climate, rare vegetation, and high altitudes. These are the two places that tourists prefer for camping and trekking. Tourists also engage themselves in lots of other exciting activities of adventure tourism, such as cycling, hiking through mountain trails, rock climbing, and exploration of caves.
Talking about the other natural attractions in the governorate, Al Qamshoi said. “There are also wadis, such as Wadi Tannouf in the Wilayat of Nizwa, Wadi Al Maideen in Barkah distict of Nizwa, Wadi Hilfain, which extends from the Wilayat of Izki to the Wilayat of Adam, and Misfat Al Abryeen in the Wilayat of Hamra. All of them are known for their lush vegetation and flowing waters. There are palm groves and beautiful mountains, which add to its beauty and make it the most preferred place for tourists.
He also said that the caves were among the important components that attract tourists. These caves include Al Hoota cave, which is located below the Jabal Akhdhar on its western slope. On the other end is the Wilayat of Al Hamra, which is a natural formation that dates back to thousands of years. The Hoota cave is one of the projects that has helped in promoting tourism in the Al Dakhiliyah Governorate. They have beautiful natural components. Also, there is the Jarnan cave, which is located under wadi Hilfain near the historical Al Nizar village, which has a number of houses that belonged to the era of the migration of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). These caves attract tourists as well as geological researchers. It reveals the harmony of man with nature, as well as the latter’s compassion and harshness towards nature.
On the services provided by the department of tourism in Al Dakhiliyah governorate, Al Qamshoi said, “The department works in coordination with the concerned authorities to provide basic services required by tourists and to develop some tourist sites. The ministry makes booklets and tourism maps available, if required by the tourists. There is a permanent and continuous coordination between the department of tourism and various accommodation facilities in the governorate to maintain the quality of the services provided to tourists. It also goes through all the comments and remarks of the tourists, through the tourism communication centre and other means.
About investment opportunities in the tourism sector of Al Dakhiliyah governorate, Al Qamshoi stated, “The governorate has seen a significant increase in the number of tourist establishments. There are a number of tourist establishments which have been completed recently. Also, there are some projects on which work is still underway. In addition to this, a number of travel and tourism offices have been opened. Initial approvals were given to a large number of projects. Some of these projects have also received final approvals. There are also a number of future plans to meet the requirements of tourism activities in all the wilayats of the governorate. Work is underway on a number of projects on government lands.
The Ministry of Tourism is also preparing a study on tourism planning in various places of the governorate, in cooperation with a global company. It is expected that the study would soon come out with various recommendations for the promotion of tourism in the governorate.