Muscat: The Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat and the Khasab Port in Musandam received 78, 300 tourists from 37 cruise ships over the past four weeks, according to Marafi Asyad.
The Ministry of Tourism has been putting efforts to encourage cruise tourists. “The Ministry of Tourism plays a major role in developing this type of international tourism in coordination with the government, private sector and cruise ship operators. It makes the ports of the Sultanate attractive stopover points for the giant cruise ships. The process of obtaining licenses for the purpose has been made flexible and easy. The cruise ships’ market is important for the growth of tourism activity,” said Abdulla bin Saif al Sadi, head of ships and cruises department in the Ministry of Tourism.
The number of cruise ships visiting different ports in the Sultanate witnessed a significant rise during the 2018-2019 tourism season. According to the Ministry of Tourism, 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 cruise tourists who came to different ports of the Sultanate in 2018 stood at 193,467, the number is expected to reach 220,000 in 2019.