Visa fee for GCC residents unchanged

March 21 –  The visa fee for GCC residents visiting Oman remains at RO 5 and no changes have been made to the same, the Ministry of Tourism has said.

The clarification followed reports in about the fee hike impact on tourism arrivals.

The number of visitors to the Sultanate increased 6.6 per cent annually from 2009 until the end of 2017, according to a ministry statement on Wednesday.

The number of visitors increased 4.7 per cent to 3,261,484 at the end of 2017 as against 3,044,705 in 2016.

The number of visitors to the Sultanate in the first two months of 2018 (January and February) increased 10.8 per cent to 71,701 from 64,690 during these two months in 2017.

The total number of guests in three- to five-star hotels increased 11.6 per cent to 132,759 in January 2018 compared with 118,953 in 2017.

The total revenue of three- to five-star hotels rose 11.4 per cent.

The total number of international arrivals at the Muscat International Airport increased 10.1 per cent to 1,144,617 in 2018 as against 1,039,145 in 2017.

With the expansion of Muscat and other airports, the Ministry of Tourism is anticipating an annual growth of over 13 per cent in tourism arrivals up to 2020.

“Around 20,000 hotel rooms have been established across the country, which will not only increase the number of tourist arrivals, but also contribute to national GDP,” Maitha al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism, told the Observer recently.

The ministry has urged tourists to take advantage of the e-Visa to avoid waiting in queues at the airport.

The government is urging tourists to process their visa electronically prior to their arrival and avoid standing in long queues at the immigration.

Maitha said the e-Visa is part of the steps taken to simplify the entry process for Oman’s tourists. The airport’s passenger terminal has been equipped with e-Visa gates to help tourists avoid queues.