In Dhofar, two of the most visited sites of Al Baleed and Samharam received 94.068 visitors in 2014, up from 56.104 witnessed in 2013. In December, the two sites received 8.631 tourists. Of these, Al Baleed Archaeological Park and Frankincense Land Museum received 5.412 visitors while Samharam Archaeological Site received another 3.219. Al Baleed Archaeological Park and Samharam are registered sites on the Unesco’s World Heritage List under the category of ‘Land of Frankincense’ sites.
Since ancient times, frankincense was valued more highly than gold. Dhofar in the south of Oman is the home base for frankincense. People travel from abroad to see the trees in their natural environment. The trees play a main role in documentaries all over the world. Frankincense is still traditionally embedded in the daily life of the Omani people.
At the fourth of Februar, the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) presented the results of their four year Frankincense tree research project. The project concluded in 2014. To protect and preserve the trees for future generations, new findings on sustainable harvesting were given. The resin of the Frankincense trees is harvested by tapping the trunk and the branches. Based on the study, the ESO designed an infographic poster. The poster advises the people engaged in the harvesting of the frankincense how to do this in a sustainable way. The ESO will embark on a campaign to spread awareness and to encourage all the stakeholders to work together for the protection of ‘A magical species of an ancient world’ as stated in their invitation. The ESO, a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation, was founded in 2004 by Omanis representing different regions and many different professional backgrounds. The Society is the first of its kind in Oman. ESO is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN) and represents environmental organisations of west Asia at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). ESO has also recently signed a co-operative agreement with the Emirates Environment Group (EEG).