MUSCAT — Oman is fast becoming one of the most favored tourist destinations in the GCC region, thanks to the government’s intensive tourism campaigns led by the Ministry of Tourism of Oman. Oman launches eVisa System to make tourism ease for Oman. Now Visitors to Oman can apply for Oman visa online by filling simple Oman visa application form to get eVisa for Oman.
Now eVisa Oman has been made easy. To accommodate the growing visa applications, “our government has launched the new e-visa system, one of the safest systems in the world and this project aims to keep abreast of the technical progress, facilitating, and simplifying the process of obtaining visas.
We aim to promote Oman to new international markets and position the Sultanate as a year-round, and not seasonal, destination.”
Besides, “we have also established close coordination and collaboration with the local public and private sectors to encourage them to help us in establishing unique attractions in all the Sultanate governorates that will reflect the genuine and fascinating Omani culture and heritage set against a contemporary backdrop.”
Excerpts of the interview follow:
• What are you promoting /showcasing during 2019 to the tourists and what are the promotional activities for the GCC markets?
We have lined up a number of exciting and fun promotional tourism campaigns and activities this year, including participation in events happening in the GCC region such as the Arabian Travel Market and Riyadh Travel Fair. These initiatives target local travelers, GCC visitors, and international tourists. For our summer campaign, for example, we are going to hype our famous summer destinations, including Jebel Akhdar, Khareef Dhofar, Al Ashkharah, Jebel Shams, and the coasts of Dhofar and the central provinces that offer the much-required break. In addition, other Omani areas are also being promoted.
For the GCC market, we are in constant collaboration with the regional and global online travel agents to come up with special and unique travel packages.
• How was the performance in 2018 and what are the expectations this year?
In 2018, we welcomed more than 1.4 million GCC citizens. This number is initial, and we hope this will increase further in 2019. The total number of tourists was recorded at more than 3 million, while cruise ship passengers who visited the Sultanate is more than 190,000.
• Can you tell more about the upcoming developments and projects taking place to enhance the tourism sector in Oman during 2019?
A number of significant projects that will strongly benefit the sector are now in the pipeline this year and beyond, while several current tourism developments are expected to finish their initial phase of implementation in 2019. The hospitality and tourism sectors are steadily booming in Oman, resulting in the construction of more advanced facilities and better infrastructure, creation of new jobs for the country’s citizens and residents, and entry of substantial local, regional, and global investments.
• What is the current profile of visitors flying or going to Oman? Are there any plans to expand your reach to other traveler’s segments?
The Oman Government targets a variety of segments based on the profile of our visitors. These include adventure tourism, cultural tourism, family tourism, and business and corporate tourism and other tourism purposes. Oman’s key source markets are its neighboring GCC countries, which accounted for 48 per cent of the total tourists who visited Oman in 2016; followed by other key markets such as India, German, UK, France and other sources markets.