Call for more tourist facilities

The Hilton Salalah ... beachfront luxury.

More facilities and amenities for visitors are required to improve tourism in Oman, says Hilton Salalah Hotel sales and marketing director.

Although the recent easing in visa rules have helped sell to more individual travellers, more facilities need to be provided to boost tourist traffic, said Hetty Knight.

"Heritage sites and places of interest need more promotion and should be open on public holidays," said Knight, highlighting some of the measures that would help improve tourism.

She said tourism from Europe would also dramatically improve with the introduction of direct flights to Salalah from Dubai.

Knight said the beachfront hotel which targets both leisure and business markets, suffered a sharp loss of 55 per cent of its tour business after the September 11 attacks in the US.

However, the boom in corporate market in Salalah combined with military business helped to more than offset the loss of tour business, said Knight.

The growth in corporate market in Salalah with the port expansion, privatisation of the airport, the gas pipeline and other projects also signals a positive outlook for the hotel this year.

The hotel which celebrated its second anniversary last year is currently offering a special "Hilton for Free" deal under which guests pay for three nights and get the fourth free.

The hotel is offering a single or double room for just RO51 ($132) including breakfast and taxes as part of the regionwide promotion which is available until September 30 except for the Khareef season during August.

Located on the white sand beach at Raysut, Hilton Salalah offers 31 deluxe rooms and 16 suites, either with balcony and ocean view or views of the mountains.

It provides extensive leisure and business facilities including six bars and restaurants, a nightclub with live entertainment, health and fitness centre, swimming pool, two floodlit tennis courts and a large ballroom and four meeting rooms.