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Tourist arrivals into Oman to surpass 5-million mark in 2024

Oman represents an attractive market for luxury holiday options: Report
Oman represents an attractive market for luxury holiday options: Report

MUSCAT: Affirming the positive outlook surrounding Oman’s rapidly rebounding tourism sector, a new report by BMI, a Fitch Solutions company, has projected tourism arrivals to surge by 24.7% year-on-year in 2024 to breach the 5-million mark for the first time.

This compares with a figure of 4.3 million arrivals in 2023, the report noted, citing data published by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

“We forecast Oman’s arrivals to grow by 24.7% y-o-y in 2024 to a total of 5.3 million. The 2024 arrivals levels will be a new high, building on the most recent historic peak in 2023. Arrivals will continue to expand over the remainder of our medium-term forecast period (2024-2028) to reach a projected 10.8 million by 2028. Our forecasted arrivals growth trajectory for Oman indicates that the market will achieve its target of 11.0 million tourists by 2040,” BMI stated in its latest report on the Sultanate of Oman.

According to the market research firm, arrivals from the GCC states totalled around 1.6 million in 2023, followed by an estimated 610,000 visitors from India. Germany came next with a figure of 150,000, while Mainland China accounted for 118,000 arrivals.

Significantly, Oman’s longer-term goal of targeting a peak of 11 million tourists annually by 2040 — a key goal of the country’s Vision 2040 Strategy — appears to be within reach, BMI notes.

“Our projected medium-term (2024-2028) arrivals growth trajectory indicates that the country will be on track to achieve this target. We forecast Oman’s arrivals growth to be robust over the medium term, growing by an annual average of 20.4% y-o-y between 2024-2028, to reach 10.8 million arrivals in 2028. Increased arrivals over the medium term will be driven by key source markets across the GCC, as well as Asia-Pacific and European markets.”

The report however cautions that weaker global economic growth can pose a potential “downside risk” for arrivals into Oman, particularly from the Asia Pacific and European markets during 2024. High living costs and tighter credit conditions are likely to constrain discretionary spending in these markets, with the result that travellers may choose short and medium-haul travel, while skipping long-haul destinations, such as Oman, it warns.

Nonetheless, the overall outlook for the industry continues to be bright, says BMI. “We expect Oman’s tourism sector to remain resilient, particularly over the medium-to-long term. Oman is easily accessible for travellers from its key source markets across the GCC due to regional proximity and strong transport links. Low barriers to entry to Oman will be supported by high household disposable incomes across markets in the region. This will drive demand for experiential products and services such as travel and hospitality.”

Importantly, Oman also represents an attractive market for tourists eyeing luxury holiday options, BMI points out. However, it would need to “compete” with a number of GCC markets that are also currently expanding their tourism product offerings as part of a wider economic diversification push in those countries, it stresses.

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