Up until just 20 or so years ago the Sultanate of Oman, the
second largest country in Arabia, was secretive and reclusive, its
people kept from the modern world by on oppressive ruler to the
point that the gates of the capital city Muscat were closed from
dusk to dawn. The surly Sultan, however, was overthrown by his
British-educated son in 1970, and since then Oman has been
gradually gaining confidence and wealth, catching up with the times
and welcoming expatriate workers and tourists alike at Seeb
Oman occupies the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula,
bordered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It's
topography is varied and dramatic, with rocky mountains and deep
water inlets in the north, rolling dunes and salt flats in the
central interior, verdant green hills in the southern Dhofar
province, and a coastline stretching thousands of miles with
magnificent beaches and cosy coves.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said has realised that tourism is an integral
part of his modernisation programme, but thus far it is the wealthy
who are being urged to bring their holiday funds to spend in Oman.
Sightseeing and activities are mainly restricted to Muscat and the
southern town of Salalah, famed for its seafood, frankincense trees
and the ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba. Accommodation is
offered mainly in luxury resort hotels.
Making responsible use of oil revenue, Muscat has taken on the
veneer of a prosperous modern Arab city without losing its old
world charm and heritage. It features forts, palaces and other
historic sites of interest to visitors, as well as an exciting
(bazaar) and some stunning long sandy beaches like
Qurum, Bandar Al-Jissah and Yeti.