Aided by strong tourism potential and ease in travel restrictions, the Sultanate of Oman is all set to rebuild its air traffic over the coming months.
Supporting the facts are arrivals of flights from European countries and the increase in the number of inbound passengers since September 2021.
The total number of inbound visitors, according to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information, reached 83,000 in September 2021, which is 12 times compared to the corresponding month in 2020.
Visitors from the Gulf region formed the highest 62.4 per cent, with 52,025 visitors during the month.
Oman Airports Chief Commercial Officer Samer al Nabhan expressed optimism of a rebound thanks to Oman’s attractiveness as a major tourist destination.
“The easing of travel restrictions will help to accelerate traffic numbers,” he told Routesonline, adding, “the tourism industry was thriving before the crisis, and we are confident that airlines will return to our market now that we are ready to welcome them back.”
On Friday, Salalah Airport received the first direct flights from Poland, carrying more than 250 tourists, as part of the winter tourism season in Dhofar, which will continue until the end of next April.
According to Marwan bin Abdul Hakim al Ghassani, Director of the Promotion Department at the General Directorate of Heritage and Tourism in the Governorate of Dhofar, a rebound in tourism movement was a priority of the ministry.
“The ministry is making continuous efforts to attract charter flights in coordination with both domestic and foreign tourism partners. A comprehensive plan is being chalked out tide over the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said while welcoming the tourists from Poland.
During the winter tourism season, tourist groups from Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and other European countries form the majority of the visitors.
At the same time, the total number of guests in three- to five-star hotels in Oman amounted to 934,255 by the end of September, compared to 604,940 guests during the same period in 2020, an increase of 37.9 per cent.
European guests amounted to 29,732, guests of North and South America stood at 13,259, guests from the GCC States amounted to 13,452, from Oceania amounted to 3,916, from African countries amounted to 2,868 and other countries’ guests amounted to 20,933 by the end of September 2021.
On October 24, Air France started its services to Muscat from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). The route operates three times per week using Boeing 787-9s.
SalamAir in July launched flights from Muscat to Istanbul and Trabzon in Turkey, as well as a seasonal route to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Jordan Aviation began operating to Oman’s capital from Amman in Jordan.