Thousands flock to Al Hoota Cave over Eid
Thousands of visitors flocked to Al Hoota Cave following its recent reopening. Over the Eid Al Adha holiday, above 12,700 people visited one of the region’s leading natural attractions to enjoy the cave experience and its enhanced facilities. The high turnout of visitors reinforces the interest in Oman’s natural wonders, and that local and regional tourism in Oman is on the increase.
Omran, the operator of the cave complex and the master developer that worked with the Ministry of Tourism to enhance the attraction’s facilities following its closure, was pleased with the large turnout of the visitors during Eid. The mix of visitors included local Omani tourists as well as people from the GCC including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Anticipating a large turnout, Omran and the on-site team operating the cave made the decision to open on Arafah day and the first day of Eid to accommodate visitors who made the trip in order to rediscover the wonders of the cave.
Marking the huge interest in the cave, it remained open an additional three hours per day in order to accommodate the large amount of visitors. The staff were eager to accommodate all guests, which illustrates their will to go above and beyond to be able to cater to the crowd.
Eng. Khalid Mirza, Director of Projects Development at Omran, said: “We’ve transformed the offering at Al Hoota Cave, making it a completely new experience for visitors. The number of visitors over Eid was staggering, and just goes to show how excited people are about Oman’s natural wonders and finding out what’s new at the cave. The feedback from visitors was fantastic, and we’re extremely pleased to have exceeded peoples’ expectations.
“We even made the decision to keep the cave open for an extra three hours every day so no one missed out – the team wanted every visitor to have the best experience and they went above and beyond to to make this happen,” he added.
One of the visitors to Al Hoota Cave during Eid al Adha was week was Sudir Balachandran who said: “The cave officials were very supportive, cooperative and efficient in managing the entire crowd. There were good arrangements at the restaurant with a variety of good food and very friendly and cheerful staff at the gift shop. I have visited many caves but the way Al Hoota has been maintained and the way nature has created it makes it a place one must certainly visit. Many thanks to the entire staff at Al Hoota Cave.”
Local SMEs have been instrumental in the revamped Al Hoota experience. Eng. Khalid said: “We’ve leased many of the businesses on-site to local SMEs to operate them on our behalf. The restaurant and the gift shop for instance are run by a local company. This provides something completely authentic that you simply don’t find at other attractions, which are usually supported by generic fast food outlets. Omran is committed to engaging local SMEs in its developments, so we build Oman’s infrastructure together and empower local entrepreneurs.”
As part of this dedication to involving the local SME community, Omran will partner with any local SMEs who own rest houses in the area surrounding Al Hoota cave to promote the cave to visitors in the area and allowing them to obtain a complete cultural experience during their stay.
This agreement has led to a local SME operating Al Hoota Cave’s restaurant. The local family business owns and runs a rest area at the nearby village called Misfat Al Abriyeen, so was an ideal choice to forge a partnership with to enhance the Al Hoota experience for visitors.
Such joint collaborations showcase Omran’s commitment to supporting the country’s social and economic development through the creation of destinations that benefit the people of Oman and calls upon others to promote their SMEs through fruitful collaboration.
Having being closed for several years, Omran and the Ministry of Tourism have worked to extensively renovate and Al Hoota Cave and its facilities. The site now has visitor infrastructure that is worthy of such a spectacular attraction. In the coming months there will be additional acitivites added including zip lining, rock climbing and a rope course.
Al Hoota Cave will resume operations after Eid holiday on Thursday (22nd September). To book your trip , please visit the online website booking system at www.alhootacave.com