While tourist experiences and expectations are likely to differ from city to city, the Observer tried to find what individual tourists generally look for at places they visit
International tourists are coming back to the Gulf region, which will be hosting a series of high-profile events in the current period.
Coming out of months of lockdown imposed during summer to contain the spread of Covid-19, Muscat got a boost when the Sultanate of Oman hosted the opening matches of the 2021 T20 World Cup, which were watched by over three billion television viewers in Africa, Europe and Asia.
While the neighbouring Dubai (UAE) is currently hosting the Dubai Expo, Doha (Qatar) will host the Fifa World Cup next year. With a friendly tourist regime, the Sultanate of Oman is expected to host a large chunk of visitors to these countries, apart from tourists who will be specifically coming to the Sultanate of Oman.
It may be noted that Lonely Planet figured the Sultanate of Oman among the best destinations for 2022.
While tourist experiences and expectations are likely to differ from city to city, the Observer tried to find what individual tourists generally look for at places they visit.
“We should always take special care of individual tourists coming alone or with families. This category needs budget hotels with decent facilities, affordable public transportation, eating joints and local guides’’, said Hassan, who was a tour guide licensed by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism in the pre-Covid days.
According to travel search engines, the cheapest hotel rates in the Sultanate of Oman are in the range of $15 per night.
“Taxi fares were a major concern those days, but I hope things have turned better with mobile app-based operators such as Otaxi coming of age and expanding their reach. I assume the government is working on street food that will help visitors have quick bites at affordable prices’’, he said.
Small scale businesses in the tourism sector will be a good opportunity for young Omani entrepreneurs to become successful in a short period.
“We are already seeing the changes, but the authorities should be giving more licences for activities such ‘bicycle for rents’, paragliding on beaches, boat rides, light and sound shows at multiple tourist attractions. Places such as the Muttrah Waterfront and the Qurum beachfront in the city limits should be exploited for tourism as per the international standards’’, said Evan, who has invited a friend and his family for a leisure trip during Christmas.
The office of the governorate of Muscat is working on various tourism projects to raise the level of the visitor experience.
More importantly, the office has been interacting with the youth for suggestions as it seeks to focus on sustainable projects.
While Omran has been working on plans to launch recreational activities at Muttrah Waterfront, the other authorities are launching the cable car services and improving facilities at Muttrah Fort.