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Roundtable explores options to drive India-Oman tourism growth

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MUSCAT: Building on the success of the India-Oman Webinar for Tourism Promotion, held on February 8, 2022, the Indian Embassy (Muscat) organised a roundtable meet on India-Oman Tourism on Wednesday with the presence of 40 prominent Omani and Indian tour operators.

A video showing facets of ‘Incredible India’ set the stage for in-depth discussions on strategies to promote inbound and outbound tourism. Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary (Tourism), Indian Ministry of Tourism, addressed the roundtable by a video message. He exhorted the travel and tour operators to assist in making India a favoured travel destination for Omani tourists and highlighted key policies of the Indian government in this regard.

Indian Ambassador Amit Narang stressed the triple advantages of familiarity, proximity and connectivity that make India and the Sultanate of Oman unique partners in travel and tourism. He said that easing out of Covid-19 travel restrictions and resumption of scheduled international flights to India from March 27, 2022 will help the travel market to slowly and steadily return to normality.

He referred to the 500,000 Free Tourist Visa Scheme announced by the Indian government in November 2021 and requested the participating tour operators to promote holistic packages to India, combining the already popular medical tourism with wellness, heritage and cultural packages to select destinations. The ambassador also noted that with over 26 million outbound travellers from India annually, the Sultanate of Oman can benefit hugely by attracting Indian tourists with focused promotion and well curated packages.

During the event, participants shared their valuable ideas to promote India in Oman and Oman in India. Among the suggestions received included conducting regular B2B meetings, roadshows, FAM trips, participation in travel marts, social media campaigns, advertisement, connecting with universities and youth to promote two-way tourism. Sectors like adventure, medical, business, leisure and education were highlighted in the interactive session.

The roundtable gave an excellent opportunity to leading tour operators of both sides to connect with each other for potential business collaborations. Participants appreciated the back-to-back initiatives of the embassy and were confident about the prospects of rejuvenating the travel and tourism sector in both India and the Sultanate of Oman.

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