Indian tourists to Sultanate up, Russia new market this year

Muscat, Feb 4 – Russia is the new market identified for promoting Oman tourism, while tourist numbers from India grow more than 10 per cent since the introduction of electronic visa. “We have had a very good growth from India. The country is a potential market for us,” said Asma al Hajry, Deputy Director-General for International Tourism, Ministry of Tourism. She was speaking at a meeting of MoT’s representatives from different parts of the world who have gathered in Muscat to gear up for the 2019 tourism plan. “We have entered the Russian market and that is where our focus is going to be in 2019. Hopefully, other markets are also coming up like China, Iran and the US,” she said. The ministry is also working closely with Oman Air to develop packages to attract visitors. Eight markets have been represented at the meeting – the UK, Germany, France, Italy, GCC, India, the Netherlands and Russia. Al Hajry said the meeting was helpful for the representatives in knowing the ministry’s focus as well as the Tourism 2040 strategy. The representatives were briefed about the latest developments in the Sultanate, including new hotels and other upcoming projects. According to her, the meeting was important for representatives to know the opportunities that Oman, as a destination, provides. Secondly, they get to meet trade partners, including hoteliers, to discuss the 2019 plans. One of the major challenges the tourism sector faced in 2018 was the global economic situation. However, it didn’t have a major impact on Oman, she said. “Oman has seen a 4-6 per cent growth in tourism every year. As Oman is not a mass tourism destination, we are very careful in attracting the right visitors because quality is more important than quantity and we would like to maintain that,” she added.