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OMAN, MIDDLE EAST HOTEL, TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION GUIDE

Muttrah Souk, Muttrah, Muscat, Oman, Middle East
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OMAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Muscat Things to Do: Sports and Recreation in Muscat
Travel off the beaten path in fascinating Oman

Oman: A Rising Tourist Destination   by Claire Bryant

Oman Featured Hotels

Oman has the most up-and-coming tourism industry in the Gulf, and more and more people are booking Oman holidays. It is in a prime location to develop its already budding tourism industry, and it is in an economic position to do so. With new facilities and resorts being developed, it is a perfect time to book an Oman luxury holiday.
Oman is the prime tourist destination of the Gulf, and Oman luxury holidays are becoming increasingly popular. With warm weather, sparkling ocean waters and luxury accommodation, an Oman holiday is sure to be a good one. There are a number of reasons why Oman's tourism industry is destined to do better than its neighbours.

Expansion of the Tourism Industry

Up until 1970, Oman was a region that was closed to the outside world, and Oman holidays were by no means at the forefront of tourists' minds. But tourists are beginning to flock to the region, and the tourism industry forms an integral part of the region's economic plans for the future. 

Beehive Tombs near Al Ayn and Bat, Oman
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Resorts, hotels, and new travel companies are popping up all over the region, and Oman luxury holidays are becoming increasingly popular.

Oman's Prime Location

Oman is in a prime location, with beautiful scenery and many tourist sites, which makes Oman holidays the most popular for tourism in the Gulf. Its wildlife and ecological features are exceptional, making it popular amongst holidaymakers and tourists. It also has a number of cultural and historic sites, making for interesting activities when on an Oman holiday.
Fruit and Vegetable Market in Mutrah, Oman
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Oman is Economically Ready for Tourism Development

Oman is currently in an economically desirable position because one of its primary exports, hydrocarbon, is being sold at a high price. This means that the sultanate has begun developing its economy away from oil and gas production, into newer areas. Sultan Qaboos Bin Said wants to incorporate the growing tourism industry into the sultanate's economic plans, and promote Oman luxury holidays.

Because it is the most popular tourist destination in the Gulf, the tourism industry could well develop into a central part of Oman's economy. 

Perhaps now is a good time to visit Oman, because its scenery and historical sites are superior, and it would be good to go on an Oman holiday before the region becomes a major tourist destination.


Oman's Political Stability Makes Tourism Possible

The sultanate has been, and continues to be, politically stable and safe for tourists. This is perhaps one of the biggest selling points for Oman holidays, as opposed to holidays in other regions of the Gulf. 
Sultan Qaboos Bin Said has ruled over the sultanate since his accession in 1970. Under his leadership, Oman has been modernised, united and opened, following the more closed and divided rule of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman.

This puts Oman at a significant advantage as far as tourism is concerned, as it is the most stable and safe region in the Gulf, which largely responsible for the rise in Oman holiday bookings.

Oman Maintains International Relationships

Oman has been clever in its approach to international relations, remaining in relatively neutral ground. This is excellent in terms of tourism, because people from all over the world will be willing to go on Oman holidays. Oman manages to maintain good relations with the west and with Iran, and even has cordial relations with Israel. It also has a good relationship with the US, unlike many of its neighbours. All in all, it has maintained good international relationships, making Oman Luxury holidays a perfect choice.

Men Walking Past Burami Mosque, Oman
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About the Author: Claire Bryant is an Oman holidays specialist for key2holidays, an online tour operator specialising in www.key2holidays.co.uk/oman/, as well as holidays to Australia, South Africa, the Caribbean, Italy, the Far East, the Maldives, Mauritius Sri Lanka and the Seychelles, and Dubai. key2holidays has a dedicated team of experienced travel consultants to share their knowledge and help you to plan and book your ideal holiday.

Muscat Things to Do: Sports and Recreation in Muscat   by Lek Boonlert
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The capital city of Oman and the country's largest city, the Middle Eastern gem of Muscat attracts visitors all year round. This part of the world is famous for its intense natural beauty and the cool, clear water that surrounds Muscat is ideal for diving and snorkeling in, while visitors can choose to take a boat trip to see dolphins and whales in their natural habit. Of course, there are plenty of other things to do in Muscat as well, including dining, shopping and caving.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Muscat is situated on the northern coast of Oman and there are plenty of excellent dive sites just a short drive away. The waters here are simply teeming with a whole host of colourful marine life and professionally run scuba diving and snorkelling trips allow visitors the chance to explore the underwater world here safely.

Whale and Dolphin Watching Trips
A popular activity among those who are traveling with children, whale and dolphin watching trips are an interesting and exciting way to explore the area around Muscat. Usually lasting for either half a day or the entire day, these excursions include lunch and also additional activities such as snorkeling and swimming. 

Shore of Yiti, South Coast of Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Middle East
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Whale and dolphin watching trips are offered by a number of tour operators and it is a good idea to shop around to be sure of getting the best deal.

Night Safari
The city of Muscat is surrounded by the picturesque Wahaiba Desert and taking a night safari here is a great way to appreciate the area's intense natural beauty while having fun at the same time. Visitors will be transported into the heart of the Wahaiba Desert in a four-wheel drive vehicle in order to experience spend an unforgettable night camping out in the desert. This is a great place to take photographs and meet new people at the same time.

Caving
Thrill seekers from all over the globe travel to Muscat to take caving tours, which can be booked through many of the leading Muscat hotels. There are a large number of different caves to explore here and Hoti Cave is the most easily accessible for beginners and features an enchanting underwater lake. Many of the tour companies in Muscat offer trips to Majlis Al Jinn, which is one of the largest underground chambers in the entire world, while Jebel Bani Jabir features impressively deep shafts to explore.
Oman Arab Building in the Commercial District, Ruwi, Muscat, Oman, Middle East
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Shopping
The wide range of shopping opportunities in Muscat are sure to delight those who like to shop until they drop. Some of the best bargains here include rugs, books and locally made handicrafts, which can be found in abundance in traditional markets such as the world famous Mutrah Souk. 

Bartering is very much ingrained in the culture of Muscat and those who are able to haggle in a firm yet friendly manner will be able to grab plemty of great deals and discounts. In addition to large and colourful markets, there are also modern shopping malls to explore, which are popular hangout spots with the city's teenagers.


Dining
When it comes to eating out, there are numerous Oman restaurants to choose from in Muscat, which offer a wide range of traditional dishes as well as Western favourites. Omani dishes are famed the world over for their unique spices and no trip to Muscat would be complete without sampling a few. While gourmet restaurants can be found inside leading hotels and in touristy districts of the city, those looking for a cheap and tasty meal will also find plenty of places to choose from here, especially in markets and shopping centres.

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About the Author: Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all content.

FEATURED HOTELS IN MUSCAT, OMAN

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Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat
Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat is set against a dramatic mountain backdrop on 200 acres of private beach and lush green gardens. The business and commercial districts are close by, as are must-see sights including the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Bait Al Zubair Museum and Al Alam Palace. Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat is set against a dramatic mountain backdrop on 200 acres of private beach and lush green gardens. The business and commercial districts are close by, as are must-see sights including the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Bait Al Zubair Museum and Al Alam Palace. To explore the essence of Muscat, a visit to the Muttrah Souk (market) is a must. 
Al Madinah Holiday Muscat
Hotel Al Madinah Holiday, situated in Muscat, benefits from a gym, tennis courts and outdoor swimming pool with a sun lounger terrace. It also offers free parking. The hotel has a bar with live entertainment and a café offering coffee specialities. All of the rooms at Hotel Al Madinah are air-conditioned and feature a minibar. The key attractions of Muscat, including Al-Riyam Park, the Muscat Gate Museum and the Mutrah Souq are a short distance away from Hotel Al Madinah.
Grand Hyatt Muscat
Grand Hyatt Muscat is a 5 star hotel situated on a pristine stretch of beach in the capital of the Sultanate of Oman and is a striking illustration of Arabian architecture. Located in the heart of the diplomatic district of the city in Shatti Al Qurm, majestic surroundings and traditional Omani hospitality combine for a truly unforgettable stay. Guests can choose from a variety of award winning restaurants, bars and lounges including Grand Hyatt Muscatís signature restaurant, Tuscany Italian restaurant, the Rooftop Grill House and Muscatís premier night club Copacabana.
InterContinental Muscat
InterContinental Muscat is a 35-acre oasis in the heart of the cityís premier residential, government and diplomatic quarter. Our prime location means the business and commercial districts are close by, as are must-see sights like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Bait Al Zubair Museum and Amouage Perfume Factory. Shoppers will want to visit the Muttrah Souk - the essence of Muscatólocated just 15 minutes from the hotel.  Our 6 restaurants offer everything from pastries on the go to romantic dinners at poolside.  French-Polynesian, Italian, Mexican and British are among the cuisines offered for a culinary tour de force. 
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FEATURED HOTELS IN SOHAR, OMAN

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Crowne Plaza Sohar
Situated in lush, manicured gardens - Crowne Plaza Sohar. Subtle Arabic motifs punctuate our soaring, 4-storey atrium as it rises in marble to a light-filled dome. Enjoy the poolside bar and sun deck. Saunas and steam rooms await in our luxury spa, or you can loosen your tie and challenge friends in our bowling alley. Situated in Oman's key commercial hub, Crowne Plaza Sohar is 9km from Sohar's Special Economic Zone in the Port of Sohar. Speak to our friendly Concierge about arranging a limousine pick-up from Muscat International Airport or Dubai International Airport, both about 2 hours' drive away. Or take a trip to Nizwa, Oman's ancient former capital and home of date-growing.
Sohar Beach by Swiss-Belhotel
Located on the lush Batinah coast in Sohar, the ancient capital of the Omani Sultanate.Constructed in the style of a traditional Omani fort, our imposing exterior of buttresses and towers belie the elegant interior of marble, stained glass windows and beautiful decor. Our restaurants and bars serve a variety of Omani, Indian and Continental cuisines with a special menu for kids. Experience something unique as you dine with our live Arabic music and belly dancing to entertain you.  For those who seek pleasure, our beachside location ensures tranquilit while still remaining accessible to nearby attractions and nightlife.
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