MUSCAT, APRIL 27 - The Sultanate is increasingly becoming one of the most preferred tourist destinations for tourists from China, according to officials from the Ministry of Tourism. At the second Oman-China Tourism Forum organised by the Omani-Chinese Friendship Association, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air, it was revealed that a total of 20,476 tourists from China visited Oman in the first-quarter of 2019. Salem bin Oday al Maamari, Director General of Promotion at the Ministry of Tourism, said, “In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists who visited the Sultanate increased to 44,580 from 19,470 in 2017 as a result of the efforts made by the Ministry of Tourism to promote Oman in the Chinese market.”
He added that nearly 150 million Chinese tourists visit various countries of the world.
Maamari said that efforts were being made to increase direct flight between Muscat and various cities of China to attract more tourists from this huge market. Other facilities include visa on arrival at the Muscat International Airport.
The forum was seen as an effort to strengthen friendship and cooperation between the people of both Oman and China following the strategic partnership agreement signed by the two countries.
Lujaina Mohsin Darwish, member of the State Council and chairperson of the Oman China Friendship Association, said that the relations between Oman and China have seen remarkable growth in various political, economic, cultural, tourism and other areas.
She said that the association in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air is encouraging Chinese tourists to visit the Sultanate and make it their preferred destination as it has many historical, cultural and natural tourism elements which attract the world.
She mentioned that Oman-China bilateral trade reached $19.5 billion in 2018 and China is the top importer of oil from Oman, which also constitutes to 97 per cent of total Omani exports to that country.
Li Lingbing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Sultanate, said Oman and China have a historic relationship which has grown in many areas. She said that the Chinese tourist delegation was impressed by the tourism elements which they saw in Oman.
She said that 22 major Chinese tourism companies participated in the second Omani-Chinese Tourism Forum, which is a positive sign for the promotion of the Sultanate to be carried out across China by these companies.