Omani ports see big rise in cruise ships arrival

MUSCAT, APRIL 16 – The number of cruise ships visiting different ports in the Sultanate has witnessed a significant rise during 2018-2019 tourism season. According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, a total of 298 ships (which is more 106 than the 2017-18 period), were anchored at Port Sultan Qaboos, which received the highest number at 147, followed by 79 by Salalah Port and 72 by Khasab Port.
The ministry expects that the number of cruise ships visiting the Sultanate would reach to 360 during the 2019-2020 season.
While the number of tourists who came on board cruise ships in 2018 stood at 193,467, the number is expected to reach 220,000 in 2019.
Abdullah al Saadi, head of the ships and cruise department, said that the ministry has been making efforts to promote cruise tourism locally and internationally.
“Last year, the ministry participated in cruise ship forums and exhibitions under the umbrella of ‘Cruise Arabia’ which is comprised of ministries and authorities which patronise this sector in the GCC countries,” he said.
The Omani ports receive tourists who arrive here on board cruise ships from various countries. They come to enjoy Oman’s beauty and to know its culture, traditions and heritage. They also want to enjoy the natural elements of the diversity of Omani environment. Normally, the period between October and April is the time when the movement of cruise ships increases.
The number of cruise ships visiting Omani ports during the 2017-2018 reached 192, of which 112 were docked at Sultan Qaboos Port, 36 at Khasab Port and 44 at Salalah Port.
As part of its efforts, the Ministry of Tourism organises, in cooperation with local agents, a number of entertainment activities for the tourists arriving. These activities highlight the cultural aspect of the life of the Sultanate for which the country is known. The tourists who enjoy these activities take home beautiful memories.
The ministry has also carried out joint promotional campaigns with cruise companies, he said.
The ministry welcomes a number of cruise ships when they call on at the Omani ports. This is to continue its relations with the cruise shipping companies, he said.
Rowas bin Hafiz al Rowas, Assistant Director General for Tourism Development and Investor Services, said that the ministry has been making all-out efforts to attract major cruise ships to call on at the ports of the Sultanate so that the country strongly emerges on the map of the navigation of these ships all around world.
He said that the movement of tourist cruise ships coming to Salalah Port this year is expected to see massive increase as a result of the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and joint efforts with Salalah Port, and organisations concerned, including tourism companies, cruise agents to make Salalah Port a major port of attraction for cruise ships.
“The cruise ship sector benefits the tourism sector directly and other such sectors indirectly. The local community also gets benefits with the cruise ships,” Al Rowas said.
Mohammed al Dhahouri, Assistant Director of Internal Tourism in Musandam Governorate, said that cruise ships contribute to enhancing the added value of the tourism sector by contributing to the local products and activating economic and tourism movement.