Tour operators and hotels are busy dealing with a surge in bookings as residents in the Sultanate are now able to finalise their Eid holiday travel plans.
With Eid Al Adha on Friday, September 1, the official holiday will start on Thursday, August 31 and end on Monday, September 4, meaning residents working in both private and government sectors don’t return to work until Tuesday.
The five-day break was announced yesterday at lunchtime, later than usual, and residents have opted to stay in Oman and enjoy a staycation, tourism industry bosses say.
Hotels and resorts now have staff on high alert to field a flurry of calls to snap up last minute deals. Over in Musandam, Six Senses Zighy Bay is also prepping themselves for a memorable Eid season.
“Many people have been calling us from all across the Middle East, ever since the holidays were announced, but we cannot give them rooms because we’ve been taking Eid reservations since the beginning of last month,” said Nurhayati Mohamad, Marketing and Communications manager at the resort.
“Most of our villas have been booked for occupancy, and only the really high-profile ones are now vacant, so we’re very keen to give all of our guests a traditional Omani experience,” she added.
Firas Rashid, director of Sales and Marketing at Anantara Jabal Akhdar, is also expecting to see an increase in last-minute bookings.
“We had been taking calls for Eid throughout this month, because the holidays were already declared in other Arab nations, but surprisingly, a lot of these calls also came from Omani families,” he told the Times of Oman.
“The days that all of them are keen on are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, because it was well known now that Friday is Eid, and so Thursday was almost definitely going to be a holiday.”
It’s not just resorts and hotels in the country that are expecting enquiries and last minute deals to ramp up, though. Travel agents are also expected to be busy, with many residents taking advantage of the promotions currently on offer.
Mohammed Shafiqul Islam, general manager of New Star LLC, a travel agent in Oman, has also instructed his staff to be on standby.
“We’d had many people tell us they’d call us once the announcement of the holidays was made. They were all really keen to spend a few days away from the city, so the moment the holidays were announced, we knew that the phones will be ringing continuously, and that’s the way it’s been since,” he said.
“Many people have chosen to go to Salalah because of the Khareef season, while others have planned short breaks abroad, in places, such as Sri Lanka and Malaysia,” he added.
With many hotels and flights close to being full, residents in Oman are finding it difficult to confirm their holiday plans so close to Eid. The industry is hoping for a better Eid this time around, as last year witnessed a dip in bookings and takings.