The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) is going all out to woo tourists from the region, especially Saudi Arabia. It participated in Riyadh Travel Fair 2013 , the largest travel and tourism exhibition and congress attracting visitors and delegates from the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe recently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The ministry officials who attended the fair along with a travel and trade delegation came back with good feedback. “We are looking to get a pie of the very strong Saudi outbound tourism industry, which is considered to be a very high-yield market. The ministry opened a representative tourism office in Saudi Arabia early this year,” said an official at MoT.
The Riyadh office will directly report to the Dubai office of MoT and will take charge of planning for Saudi-targeted yearly marketing and promotional activities.
Riyadh Travel Fair is recognised as a premier annual industry event that gathers leading travel and tourism companies as well as exhibitors representing tourist promotion authorities in Saudi Arabia, GCC  and all over the world.
The event creates a new channel for MoT to support its mission of generating greater awareness about Oman's diverse, year-round destinations.
H E Maitha al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary, MoT, said in a statement, “We welcome visitors from Saudi Arabia  and recognise the need to invest our time in the market, especially to build awareness about Oman's attractions and natural beauty. We want Saudis to include Oman in their business and leisure plans for the year starting off with Salalah's Khareef season or other cool climate destinations.”
During the Khareef season in 2012, 13,843 Saudis visited Salalah with each visitor spending an average of RO103. The relative share of the Saudi expenditure in 2012 was 6.34 per cent, amounting to about RO1.98mn.
UAE, with 70,766 visitors, topped the chart from GCC. Emiratis spent about RO6.84mn during Khareef last year with each visitor spending an average of RO88.
The ministry is expecting a big increase in tourism  with major drivers being improved air access to Salalah with Oman Air (four flights per week from Dubai), Air Arabia (three flights per week from Sharjah), Qatar Airways (four flights per week from Doha) and FlyDubai (three flights per week from Dubai) adding more than 1,500 seats per week to the destination.
Saudi Airlines also starts special flights every year during the Khareef to cater to the increased demand.