Salem Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotions, Oman Ministry of Tourism
The Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has announced that this year’s popular Khareef Festival, one of the top touristic events of the city of Salalah in Oman’s Dhofar Province, will commence on July 1, 2011 and run for 30 days. The festival draws visitors from neighboring Arab countries and around the world to the Dhofar governorate’s cool ‘khareef’ or monsoon months which last from June to September. The ministry expects a 5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals to Oman during this year’s Khareef Festival.
Salalah is often referred to as the ‘Perfume Capital of Arabia’ due to the abundance of frankincense trees in the area. During the ‘khareef’ season the accompanying rain and fog transform the city into a fragrant green paradise. This year’s mix of games, rides, concerts, and food displays is once again expected to attract huge local, regional and international audiences. The festival normally starts in June but has been moved to July in 2011 to accommodate the Holy Month of Ramadan.
“Salalah’s Khareef Festival is one of Oman’s longest-running promotional platforms and a vital component in our plans to grow the tourism sector’s GDP contributions to at least 3 per cent. So far we have witnessed a strong influx of tourists to the country, particularly to Salalah, so we are confident of achieving record numbers this year with the diverse lineup of family-friendly events,” said Salem Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotions, Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism.
The Khareef Festival is one of many local events celebrating the historical, cultural and environmental beauty of Oman. The Global Peace Index published just recently by the Institute for Economics and Peace ranks the Sultanate fourth most peaceful in the Arab region, making it a perfect leisure and lifestyle destination.