MUSCAT — More than 42,200 from within the Sultanate and abroad visited Al Jabal Al Akhdhar tourism zone during the first half of this year. The visitors included 17,660 Omanis, comprising 42 per cent of the total, and 20,117 (48 per cent), while 8 per cent or 3,254 came from other GCC states. Al Jabal Al Akhdhar attracts foreign tourists of various nationalities, including Germans, British and French visitors, as well as tourists from South Africa, Sweden and the United States. The majority of GCC visitors come from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, while most of the residents who visit the ‘green mountain’ are Arabs.
The Ministry of Tourism offers many incentives to visitors and investors in the tourism sector in the Sultanate. The incentives include rent/development of land plots in low rates, a maximum of 5-year exemption from land rental and income tax waiving. The incentives aim at encouraging investors to develop the area of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar to benefit the local community by increasing economic returns for local products and providing employment opportunities to the local inhabitants. The step also seek to market the Sultanate as a distinguished tourism destination.
Al Jabal Al Akhdhar (or the ‘green mountain’ as its name signifies in Arabic) rises 10,000 feet above sea level. It is known for its moderate climate throughout the year and a variety of tourism attractions, including the villages which dot the peaks of hills like Qaryat Wadi Habeeb with its 3,00-years-old abodes and Qaryat al Shreijah whose lush green gardens unfold down the huge mountain. This is in addition to water springs and exotic wildlife. The Sultanate’s modern renaissance led by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos brought about many improvements to Niyabat Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, including the paving of mountain roads, health services education services and tourism facilities. — Oman Arabic daily