Oman aims for record turnout for summer festival
Oman is aiming for a record number of visitors for an annual summer festival that opens Sunday, July 15, in the scenic area of Salalah as it enjoys a monsoon season, a tourism official said.
"There will be a lot of emphasis on programs suited to families and children this time" at the six-week festival in southern Oman, Mohammad Al-Tobi, director of Oman's domestic tourism department, told reporters.
The annual event takes place during the rainy season in the green and hilly Dhofar governorate of which Salalah is the capital and provides a welcome relief for Gulf residents escaping the heat.
The turnout topped a record 137,000 in 2000 and the government expects higher numbers this year, mostly tourists from the neighboring Gulf Arab countries, said Tobi.
The festival launched in 1996 features children's stage shows, fun fairs, dolphin shows and theatre productions. It runs until August 31.
The sultanate of Oman is working to develop the tourism sector, while avoiding mass tourism, as a means to create jobs for its nationals and diversify sources of income from reliance on hydrocarbon revenues. — (AFP, Damascus)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)