Oman strongly focused on UK tourist market

Oman is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination amongst British holidaymakers but has yet to benefit from second home investors that would help boost accommodation options, a UK-based holiday website has said.

  06/03/2012 12:10 said it had seen a rise in a number of “under the radar” destinations such as Seeb in northeast Oman, Calan Bosch in Menorca and Figueretas in Ibiza among British tourists looking for self-accommodation options last year.

“Oman has been picking up enquiry volume since early autumn with a particular focus on holidays November through February,” a spokesperson for the website toldsister title Arabian Business.

“It would appear that Oman is certainly a hotspot for investors given its appeal to a global consumer audience looking for new off-the-radar holiday spots that offer climate, history/culture and an element of retreat,” she added.

Oman is ramping up its investment in tourist attractions as it aims to draw 12 million tourists to the country by 2020. Several projects, including a $1bn resort in Salalah and a $1bn conference centre in Muscat, are nearing completion.

Tourism last year accounted for 2.6 percent of its GDP. The Gulf state said last month it is studying 30 locations around the country to look at their potential to be developed into tourism resorts and attractions.

Locations such as the Al Hoota, Majlis al Jinn and Suhoor Caves are being looked at for potential tourism development, Haitham Mohammed Ghasani.

Plans are also in the pipeline for the construction of an archeological park and a museum at the recently discovered Friday Mosque in Qalhat which was built around 1300 AD.

The country last week slashed the cost of its tourist visas by up to 75 percent in a bid to boost the number of tourists.

New entry tourist visas, valid for ten days, will cost OMR5 ($13) while cruise visas for up to 24-hours will be free or charged at OMR5 for multiple visits.

The cost of a single entry visa, valid for one month, will remain the same at OMR20.

The move was welcomed by the country’s Minister of Tourism. “This is great news for Oman’s tourism industry and our international travel and tourism trade partners,” Sheikh Abdulmalik Al Khalili said in a statement.

“The changes also encourage travel to Salalah and other regional destinations, and conference organisers to consider Oman as an event location,” he added.



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