By: M Najmuz Zafar

MUSCAT: If you missed travelling to Salalah during the peak tourism season of Khareef because of exorbitant hotel rates or lack of flight connections, now is the time as there are plenty of seats still available on flights to Salalah and hotel rates have come down 25-30 per cent.

With hills around Salalah, Mirbat, Taqah and Darbat, still covered in thick, green velvet, and cool breeze from the Arabian Sea making the temperature moderate, the tourism industry is expecting to see the season’s last crowds before the hills again go barren and the weather gets unfriendly.

Lakshminarayanan, manager, inbound tours, Bahwan Travel Agencies told Muscat Daily that this was the best time for those who missed going to Salalah during Eid al Fitr holidays. “We are getting many inquiries for bookings to Salalah. Flights are getting full but hotels still have quite a few rooms available. The rates were high during Eid al Fitr, but now most hotels are not applying peak charges to cash in on the rush. The rates are down by almost 25-30 per cent,” he said.

Bennet Francis, business head, Shanfari group of hotels and exhibitions, which runs Haffa House Hotel and Samharam Tourist Village in Salalah, said that this was a good opportunity for people to enjoy Dhofar’s scenery. “We have seen very good bookings for both our properties, mainly from people in Muscat and Dubai.”

He too added that rates for his hotels were down by about 25 per cent. Oman Air Holidays is also offering special Salalah Break packages in cooperation with hotels. The two-night packages per person start at RO123 for Salalah Gardens Residences, RO133 for Salalah Marriott Resort and RO144 for Crowne Plaza Salalah. The holiday packages include return flight on Oman Air from Muscat, two nights’ stay on a twin share basis, airport transfers and daily buffet breakfast.

Lakshminarayanan said that the offer from Oman Air Holidays was a great one as regular return flight alone makes for half of the rate.

“With around RO64 for return flight from Muscat, people are getting two nights’ stay in a luxury hotel accompanied by airport transfers and breakfast for another RO75-80, which is very appealing,” he said.

Manuel Levonian, general manager, Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah, said that the hotel has seen great demand with Eid holidays being extended with weekends. “Especially the factor that Khareef just got over and wadis in Salalah are still green. We have special packages tailor made for families to experience Salalah and the resort.”

He added that the main attraction this Eid is going to be hotel’s special Eid Brunch on the second and third days of the festival, which promises to be a culinary delight for guests.