Hotels in Sultanate decked up for festive season

MUSCAT, Dec 24 – Hotels across the Sultanate have reported brisk business, thanks to the festive season — Christmas and the New Year celebrations. Many rooms have been booked in advance. Both star hotels as well as budget hotels have tailored special packages for the season. Many have reported 60-70 per cent occupancy. “We are seeing a huge response for festive activities at our restaurants and lounges, especially dinners and brunches for Christmas and New Year,” said Carsten Wiegandt, General Manager of Kempinski Hotel Muscat.
“We are seeing high occupancy as the Sultanate becomes a top destination among European travellers,” he said.
He said most of the hotel’s celebrations are at its live interactive outlet, The Kitchen and the New Year’s Eve Party at Zale, the beachfront lounge, to ring in the New Year.” The Communications Department of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, said it was “very busy and excited to celebrate the festive week with our guests. This is the busiest week of the year”.
Budget hotels too have seen brisk business. “Most of our bookings for the season began a month ago. A majority of our guests are from other countries,” Abdullah al Abri, who runs an apartment near Ras al Hadd said.
Tulip Redington, one of the latest additions to the country’s hospitality industry, reported a 60-70 per cent occupancy. Downtown hotels and restaurants are catching up, offering an array of choices to their guests.
“We have launched special Christmas dishes to help celebrate the day with attractions such as the staff donning the Christmas robes,” said Sureya from Foodlands.
There has been a steady increase of tourists to Oman due to efforts of the Ministry of Tourism in promoting the country as an ideal tourism destination world over.
Last year, 2.4 million tourists visited the Sultanate as against 3.2 million the previous year.
The Ministry of Tourism approved the opening of 81 hotels with 5,279 rooms in many governorates this year. Many of them are already up and running. The country’s e-visa initiative as well as visa waiver for some countries have also helped bring in more tourists from around the world.