Oman on the cusp of tourism boom

Oman Saturday 02/March/2024 14:56 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman on the cusp of tourism boom

Muscat: A number of travel and tourism companies praised the development witnessed by the tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman , during their participation in the “World Travel Week - Middle East”.

The event organised by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism drew applause as in addition to the castles, forts, Oman has souqs and local customs that give tourism a character different from other countries. It contributes to attracting tourists to the Sultanate of Oman in various seasons.

The owners of travel and tourism companies indicated that the Sultanate of Oman is on the verge of tourism growth, stressing that the use of innovative communication methods enhances the development of relations and exchange of experiences in the tourism field, and the meetings hosted by the Sultanate of Oman work to enhance opportunities for cooperation and open new horizons for tourism sector with various countries around the world.

Ayman Al-Qudwa, an expert in the travel and tourism sector from the State of Qatar, said: "The Sultanate of Oman is witnessing a remarkable development by the government’s move towards more sustainable sectors and the diversification of its economy, especially the travel, tourism and entertainment sectors, noting that one of the most important achievements of domestic tourism in the Sultanate is Oman is choosing the city of Sur as the capital of Arab tourism for the year 2024."

Ayman Al-Qudwa added to the Oman News Agency: "What distinguishes domestic tourism in the Sultanate of Oman from the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is the moderate weather throughout the year and the diversity of its terrain, especially in the summer season in the state of Jabal Al-Akhdar in the Al Dakhiliyah Governorate and the fall season of Dhofar. This has made these two destinations among the most reliable destinations in the tourism field and a destination for visitors coming from various GCC, Arab countries, Europe and Asia. This, in turn, will revive the sector and raise occupancy rates in hotels in various governorates of the Sultanate of Oman."

For her part, Veronica Nabori from South America said: "The Sultanate of Oman is a favourite tourist destination for many visitors from South America, noting that it is characterised by tourist elements such as beaches, mountains, sand, and others that attract and encourage visitors."

She stressed that the meetings organised by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism enhance communication between international travel and tourism companies with their counterparts in the Sultanate of Oman, including hotel establishments and tourism experience providers, by using innovative communication methods to develop relationships and exchange experiences in the tourism sector.

She added: “We are currently working to introduce those wishing to visit the Sultanate of Oman from South America to tourism features of Oman and the facilities available in hotels, and to introduce them to the popular markets and traditional industries that characterize it.” She stressed that these traditional industries have a special character, such as Omani daggers, women's jewellery, perfumes, incense and frankincense, which are characteristic of the Dhofar Governorate.

For his part, Glen Johnston, Vice President for the Middle East and International Public Affairs at the American company Aviareps, said: "The Sultanate of Oman has many tourist attractions in its various states, each of which is unique from the other with long-standing tourist and historic advantages."

He added: "The Sultanate of Oman’s hosting of international tourism companies and their participation in various tourism forums and exhibitions introduce foreign tourists to the Omani tourist and historic sites, stressing that the upcoming Dhofar autumn season in the Dhofar Governorate will constitute a qualitative shift for foreign tourists coming from various countries of the world. It will contribute to raising occupancy rates in hotel establishments."

Rahul Sukramani, Director of Sales Department at the St. Regis Resort at Al Mouj Muscat, emphasised the tourist status of the Sultanate of Oman through its tourism components and environmental diversity, such as the mountainous, desert and coastal environments, popular heritage, handicrafts and traditional arts, which are important tourist attractions for visitors from different countries of the world.

He noted that continuous development and expansion of hotel facilities in various categories constitute an important factor for visitors and provide many suitable options to them.

He pointed out that there is a large demand and advance reservations from tourists of European countries to visit the Sultanate of Oman during the coming period. Visit programmes have been prepared for some tourist and heritage sites, castles, forts and various popular markets that characterise the governorates of the Sultanate of Oman, stressing that this tourist demand is due to the qualitative and rapid shift witnessed by the Omani tourism sector.

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism explained that the number of tourists who visited the Sultanate of Oman in 2023 reached 4 million, an increase of 36.7 percent over the year 2022.

The number of passengers through Muscat International Airport by the end of last year exceeded 12.6 million, a growth rate of 46 percent, and the number of flights through the airport reached 95,000, a growth of 38 percent compared to 2022.

The latest statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information confirm that the revenues of hotels with a classification of (3-5) stars in the Sultanate of Oman by the end of 2023 increased by 23.4 percent, reaching OMR229.256 million, compared to OMR185.772 by the end of 2022.

The statistics attributed this increase to an increase in the total number of hotel guests by 27.1 percent, recording 2.71 million guests by the end of 2023 compared to 1.629 million guests by the end of 2022, while the occupancy rate recorded a growth of 8.8 percent.