Nearly 200% increase in tourist arrivals in 10 years

Muscat: The travel and tourism industry in Oman has grown multifold as the national diversification strategy of the last two decades has started showing results.

In light of the new focus, the number of tourists coming to the sultanate increased from 1.3 million in 2009 to 3.1 million in 2018, an increase of over 200 percent.

The numbers were revealed during the World Travel Awards, which were held for the first time in Oman at the Royal Opera House, attended by 600 representatives from global airlines and hospitality sectors, including 300 foreign delegates, many of them visiting the country for the first time.

The number of hotels in Oman increased from 224 in 2009 to 412 in 2018, offering nearly 22,000 hotel rooms to date.

The passenger volumes through airports in Oman increased from 6.2 million in 2009 to 17.2 million in 2018, with 32 airlines flying to 77 destinations.

All airports in Oman would have catered to around 18 million passengers by the year-end, said Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed al Hosni, CEO, Oman Airports told the Observer.

According to Graham Cooke, founder and president of World Travel Awards, “We choose Oman as it is the emerging destination with amazing infrastructure.”

The companies from Oman bagged 16 prizes out of 144 which were distributed to more than 180 participating countries.

The Sultanate also won an international award for the World’s Leading Nature Destination, which enhances its presence on the list of the preferred tourist destinations for the year 2020.

Cooke added, “After seeing various Omani companies win so many awards, I am confident that the Sultanate is leading the way towards enhancing the performance of its travel and tourism sectors, to become one of the most important sources of its economic income. “

The national airline Oman Air bagged four awards – world’s leading airline (First Class), the world’s leading airline to the Middle East, World’s leading airport Lounge and World’s Leading Airline Rewards Programme.