Oman recorded 3.5 million tourists in 2019, representing an 8.14 per cent jump on the previous year.
This healthy growth is a result of the Ministry of Tourism’s (MoT) continuous efforts to entice more regional and international visitors to the country, in order to achieve the goals of the Omani Tourism Strategy. The strategy’s mission is to position Muscat as a preferred tourism destination and a city that is interlinked and integrated with other key destinations in the Sultanate by 2040.
According to figures released by Oman’s MoT, the total number of visitors from the GCC reached 1.4 million last year, while 436,000 came from India – a 21.8 per cent increase compared to 2018.
During the same period, visitors from China reached 107,000, representing a growth of 141 per cent and encouraging the opening of a tourism representative office in China next year.
A major contributor to the success of Oman’s tourism industry in 2019 was cruise ship tourism, with 283,000 passengers having arrived in the Sultanate, stimulating a year-on-year growth 46.63 per cent.
Director General of the Tourism Promotions Department, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Salem Adi Al Mamari commented on the statistics: “The excellent tourism figures we are seeing now can be attributed to the investments that the government has made in the local tourism sector; the promotion and adoption of global best practices in the hospitality industry; and the development of more world class hotel establishments in the country. Through its charming and beautiful nature, hospitality, unique traditions and rich cultural heritage, the country is able to promote both its natural resources and also sustainability. Over the years, intensified tourism campaigns have been launched to meet the government’s target of over 11 million tourists by 2040.”
Al Mamari continued: “Several campaigns, programmes, projects and clear strategies have been deployed to drive domestic tourism. Part of our efforts is to diversify our tourism products according to the needs of our visitors. Our aim is to provide them with an experience that cannot be found in other regional destinations. We have successfully established Oman’s reputation as one of the most secure and safest tourist destinations in the world. Furthermore, the Sultanate boasts of impressive natural resources, unique cultural heritage, and beautiful historical sites.”
Concluding, he said: “The 2019 positive results have inspired us to embark on more ambitious projects to further highlight the uniqueness of our country. We will also participate in more prestigious international forums to raise the global community’s awareness on the Sultanate’s beauty and hospitality.”
Looking ahead, a total of 66 new hotels are set to inaugurate in Oman between 2020 and 2021, which will contribute a total of 6,202 hotel keys. Adding to this, several hotel apartments, camps, heritage inns, green houses and guest houses will be added, with 96 hotel establishments to be launched in 2020 to 2021.