Tourists not only from Oman but from all over the Gulf Cooperation Council states descended on Salalah for the four days of Eid, many of them remaining even after the conclusion of the holiday.
Restaurants, hotels, and the streets of Salalah were full of happy visitors whose numbers were estimated by officials to reach 94,713. Said Rafeet of the Ministry of Tourism in Dhofar said that tourist began arriving in the resort town between August 19 and 22. Omani citizens comprised the majority of visitors at about 65 percent, with about 30 percent coming from the UAE.
"On the second day of Eid alone, 33,522 people came to Salalah,” explained Said. "This is the biggest in the season! The tourists meant exceptionally good business for hotels and restaurants, but also caused shortages. The petrol station at Haima, on the way to Dhofar, ran out of fuel, as did a second one along the road.”
Apparently the tourist industry was not prepared for such a huge inundation of guests to their city.
"There was a shortage of food. Our suppliers were short on chicken, beef and bread. The number of tourists affects all the normal services here,” said Shady Morgan, Assistant Director of Sales at the Hilton Salalah Resort.
The huge number of people also created unpleasant traffic jams.
“It takes at least hour to get through the traffic lights at Lulu Hypermarket. We're like Dubai at this time,” said Morgan "You should plan before you go or take shortcuts.”
Most of the Omani visitors have returned home to get back to their usual schedules, but a large number of Emirate visitors stayed for a bit longer. The Salalah Hilton reports that this week they were operating at between 85 and 100 percent capacity, and businesses elsewhere are still crowded.
"Still most of the people from the GCC are here,” commented Said. "The restaurants, the hotels and stores are still busy. Business is still good.”