April 22 – Oman’s embassy in Ankara, has urged citizens travelling to the three Caucasus countries of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia to follow certain guidelines before they start for holidays.
The clarification came in the backdrop of reports about an incident in which the Georgian authorities at airport of Tbilisi did not allow the Omani citizens to enter the country.
Around six citizens were asked to hand over their passports and wait at the airport on arrival for over two hours. They were asked to return home as they cannot enter Georgia.
“No convincing answers are given to the tourists for not allowing them to enter the country,” the travelers were quoted.
The embassy said any country has the authority not to allow individuals in certain cases to enter its territory for not disclosing valid reasons of travel.
The embassy added that travelers must disclose the areas in Georgia they would be visiting, have a valid passport, health insurance, an agreement with an accredited tourist company and the hotel reservation.
The embassy said that in many cases travelers did not follow normal procedures while booking the ticket, without coordination with tourism companies in Georgia. “They often rely on individuals residing in Georgia or some parties with vested interests.”
The embassy said that Omanis are welcomed everywhere for their reputation and hospitable nature, but people should abide by the procedures while going on holidays to avoid such cases.
Nearly seven million visitors traveled to Georgia in 2017, an increase of nearly 19 per cent from the previous year.
A large number of tourists have been also visiting neighboring countries like Azerbaijan (nearly 20 per cent growth) and Armenia.
The Oman Embassy in Ankara on Thursday said it received a communication about the theft of personal belongings of an Omani citizen in Azerbaijan. The citizen was directed to go to the police station to lodge a complaint and then inform the embassy for the follow-up.
There has also a recent case of an Omani citizen losing his passport in Azerbaijan. The embassy in Turkey said immediately took the necessary measures and contacted the Omani Foreign Ministry and the UAE Embassy in Azerbaijan.
Last year, the Indian embassy in neighboring Armenia urged citizens not to travel to Georgia on e-visa as there have been cases of travelers being sent back after waiting at the airport.
The so called Trans-Caucasus countries continue to attract tourists from the GCC and other parts of Asia due to their affordable hotel rates.
According to a representative at Holiday Factory, summer is the high-season for tourists to these countries with temperatures in the 40s. “Visas are given on arrival for travelers from GCC and it should be not an issue if the passport validity as per the regulations.”
Santosh Vaidya visited Georgia on transit through Dubai in late 2017. “My experience was great and the trip was not through a holiday package. For the first timers, I would suggest a guided tour especially during visits to the crowded cities,”
Direct flights to Georgia and Azerbaijan will be launched from Muscat this summer.