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Oman’s Ministry of Tourism relies on the recent rise in Oman’s prominence to raise visibility and promote the country as a significant tourism destination – concentrating on what makes the Sultanate a diverse and rich destination for various world tourism-related events. Oman received over 1.4 million GCC people last year, with a total of more than 3 million guests, while the Sultanate visited nearly 200 thousand cruise ship passengers.

The number of hotels in 2017-18 also increased by 12.3%, contributing to a 7.8% rise in the number of rooms available in the region. The most significant increase is the number of tourists to Khareef Salalah, 28 percent. These estimates are expected to continue increasing annually in recent industry surveys, as Oman’s reputation for hospitality, culture, and heritage continues to develop.

The Ministry highlights its 2018 successes in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the world’s leading inbound and outbound travel industry case for the Near East, which occurs until 1 May at Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Salem Bin Adey Al Mamari, Director General for the Tourism Creation of the Minister of Tourism of Oman, commented on the accomplishments: This is a highly gratifying development for the tourism sector in the Sultanate and is the product of continued promotions, projects and programs carried out by the Ministry to improve the image of the country and to encourage investment in the sector. Such actions adhere to the Oman Tourism Plan to host 11 million visitors by 2040.

“The Ministry retains key strategic relationships both within the private sector and public sector, and this allows us to support the tourism industry by launching new and unique destinations, facilities, and promotions. Al Mamari continues. Our presentation at international trade fairs such as ATM shows our determination to showcase Oman in several global markets and place the Sultanate as a destination that can be visited every season of the year. ATM is the worldwide center for travel. The event provides Oman with the ideal stage for raising visibility and exploring new strategic collaborations with public and private sector organizations.

A variety of intensive projects, programs, and initiatives undertaken by the Ministry to raise Oman’s regional and international image all have added to its positive reviews. The rise in tourists has also led to applying for visas, which was strengthened by introducing a modern e-visa scheme, one of the safest countries. In the latest platform, the whole procedure follows technological development with a streamlined visa strategy. Moreover, Muscat International Airport’s strategic expansion and refurbishment have increased visitor capacity in the region.

In an earlier release, the Ministry announced that 31 hotels, motels, and resorts would be launched this year, enhancing the hospitality sector portfolio with more than 3,260 spaces. According to estimates, 595 homes, 13 green lodges, 18 guest houses, and 2 Heritage House projects are also being built. Also, JW Marriott, the leading hotel brand, has confirmed it will launch its maiden business in the third quarter of 2019 in Oman. Apart from the Oman Conference and Exhibition Centre, the 304-room five-star hotel designed by Oman Tourism Development Company is strategically placed.

A total of 21 businesses, including The Sama Resort and the Spa, Khimji’s home, The Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Grand Hyatt Muscat, Aitken Spence Resorts ME LLC, Millénium Resort – Mussanah, The Chedi Muscat, Kempinski Hotel, Crowne Plaza, Six senses Zighy Bay resort, will be participating at the ATM this year. Besides, the event will appear prominently at Al Bustan Palace, InterContinental IHG, Bahawan Tourism LLC, Shanfari Hotels & Resorts, Al Fawaz Tours, Shangri-La Barr Al-Jissah Resort & Spa, Hormuz Grand, the Oman Air, Muscat Hills Resort, Salam Air, Dhofar Municipality and the Alila Al-Jabal Akhdar Resort.

The Ministry would target various segments, including adventure tourism, cultural tourism, family tourism, industry, and business tourism. The Ministry also plans to expand direct flights to and from Oman in the immediate future and diversify tourism to include the recreation, tourism, and MICE categories with the increased number of tourism sector operators.