Oman’s expansive deserts, flowing wadis, gleaming mountains, and calm beaches, make it abundantly clear that the country has a lot to offer to nature-lovers. However, the Sultanate’s crowning glory is undoubtedly – the Khareef season. Quite simply transforming certain spots into little patches of the paradise of the GCC, the Khareef season is also celebrated as the annual tourist season. Drawing in more visitors during its brief run from June to September, Oman’s Ministry of Tourism uses this period to maximize their tourism-based economic diversification.
Khareef Tourist Influx
This year the Khareef season was announced from the 21st of June to 21st of September, by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism. This period sees a massive influx of tourists not just from the neighboring GCC countries, but also from other countries around the world. A data report from the National Centre for Statistics suggests that in 2018 the Sultanate recorded 826,376 tourists, as compared to 644,932 visitors in 2017. The 28.1 percent increase in tourist footfall hints at the sultanate’s gradual increase in the tourism sector.
Salalah – The Khareef Hotspot
The monsoon season, locally known as the Khareef season, is in full bloom in Salalah. The beauty the season emulates is captured perfectly in the picturesque landscapes of the Dhofar region. With light drizzles, misty fogs, and green pastures, it is no less than a paradise for the inhabitants of the GCC, who are otherwise prone to the zone’s harsh climates and scorching heat. Salalah also offers visitors more than just three months long pleasant weather.
A few staples tourists need to look out for are:
- White Beaches
- Frankincense Trees
- Wadi Darbat
- Haffa Souq
Ministry of Tourism’s Initiatives
To take full advantage of the short three-month window of piqued touristic interest, the Ministry of tourism hosts the “Khareef Festival” in Salalah. The festival offers amusement rides and game stalls, but also takes this opportunity to show its visitors a glimpse of Oman’s customs and culture. With traditional dance performances, stalls selling handicraft items typical to Oman, and the Sultanate’s traditional food, the festival raises awareness for the importance of celebrating and maintaining Oman’s long upheld traditions, whilst also using them as essential tools for economic diversification via the tourism sector.