There has been a hike in the tourism activity rates from inside and outside the Sultanate that coincides with the beginning of Khareef season, which falls on June 21st every year, as well as kicking off of Salalah Tourism Festival's activities.
As per the statistics provided by the National Center for Statistics and Data in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Khareef Season Visitors Survey 2012, the number of tourists during the period from June 21st to July 4th, 2012 amounted to (31,335) compared to (28,331) visitors during the same period last year, a growth by (10.6%). The Omanis constituted (46.9%), (13.4%) for UAE citizens and (20.4%) for other GCC citizens.
The weather in the Governorate of Dhofar during its exceptional Khareef season is very splendid as light rains and dews fall on the coastal areas namely the wilayats of Salalah, Taqah, Mirbat, Rakhyut and Dhalkut.
Salalah Airport is witnessing a growing tourism activity since the beginning of the Khareef season in terms of the number of domestic and international flights. Oman Air, the national carrier, has increased the number of domestic flights between Salalah and Muscat to almost (60) flights a week including two flights a week from Dubai to meet the growth in the tourism activity during Khareef season.
Saudi Arabian Airlines also operates three flights weekly to Salalah. Air Arabia also launched on June 28th, 2012 its first direct flight between Sharjah and Salalah by operating two flights a week, which will increase the number of tourists coming to Salalah by air to (32,389) tourists last year.
The domestic and international flights in 2011 constituted (9%) of Khareef Season visitors. Many visitors still prefer to come to Salalah by land despite the long distance. The number of visitors coming by land amounted to (307,181) of the total number of visitors, which stood at (339,579). The visitors coming by land thus represent (90%) of the visitors.
The Khareef Visitors Survey 2011 pointed out that (99%) of visitors to Dhofar are GCC citizens including Omanis and residents in the GCC countries.
The Khareef season cover parts of the eastern areas in the Governorate of Dhofar as the monsoon reaches the wilayats of Taqah (30 km north Salalah) and Mirbat (74 km from Salalah), coastal areas overlooking the Arabian Sea.
The Governorate of Dhofar has rich tourist potentials, such as, white sand beaches, soft sand, mountains, wadis, plains, deserts, springs, natural fountains, caves, rich agricultural areas that produce semi-tropical products like coconut, banana, papaya, sugar cane, in addition to its creeks and sanctuaries.
Al Mughsail beach also attracts many tourists who visit Al Marneef Cave, natural fountains, Al Hafa area, known for sea road, traditional markets, frankincense and Halwa shops.
The Governorate has also many tourist attractions, such as, plains, high mountains especially in Iteen Plain near the Municipality's Recreational Center as well as, Ain Garziz.
The Governorate is also known for having many historic sites, such as Al Baleed Archeological Park in Salalah, which is listed on the World Heritage List. The park includes the Frankincense Land Museum.