Oman reports increased tourist numbers

Oman has reported an increase in the number of tourists, especially from Switzerland.

Official figures in Oman said that the number of Swiss travellers had increased in 2012. Tourist inflows from Switzerland have increased by 118 percent compared to June 2011, which is a record figure.

Maitha Al Mahrouqi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism in Oman, said that the Swiss market was very important to Oman, and added that the importance of tourists from Switzerland had increased this year. She said that Swiss tourists were fond of the beaches, beach resorts spas and hotels in Oman, making Oman their favourite leisure-tourism destination. In addition, Oman also offers plenty of opportunities for trekking, mountaineering, desert camps and safaris and swimming. The nation is also blessed with a wealth of coral reefs, and the tourism department is promoting swimming in coral reefs as a major attraction for foreign tourists.

The tourism official also said that 84 percent of traffic used Oman Air for their travel, and that stopover services being offered by the air carrier were a big hit with tourists to the nation. The carrier has a working partnership with TUI Switzerland, a tourist firm. She also revealed that German-speaking tourists were the second largest market with regard to tourism, after Arabic-speaking tourists.

The official also said that currently, total visitor arrivals to Oman are estimated at around 1.75 million. Tourism is believed to generate around 3 percent of the country’s GDP.

Maitha also said that plans for developing tourism in the nation were progressing. The expected opening of Oman’s Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2015-16 would take the nation into the global business and convention markets. The opening of the centre would also enhance Oman’s maritime tourism activities. This year, the nation is also planning to open new resorts, spas and hotels.

Maitha added, ‘Oman is an emerging market and the Ministry has established a comprehensive network of representative offices in markets that we think best fit our visitors aspiration. Specifically, we are not marketing to the group travel/holiday package segments; instead, we are focusing on brand development, trade education and tactical campaigns to attract responsible high yield visitors.’