The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts that travel and tourism will contribute USD 1.93 billion to Oman’s total GDP this year, driven by strong tourist arrivals to the Sultanate. The nation’s flagship carrier Oman Air reports a surge in tourism arrivals via its Q1 2011 flights. Passenger figures for the period surpassed those of 2008, 2009 and 2010, with March 2011 witnessing 35,000 arrivals compared to around 25,000 in March of the previous year. The cities of Muscat and Salalah are already expanding their respective airports to accommodate passenger traffic of between 48 and 10 million per annum. Arrivals at Oman’s key ports are growing as well, with Muscat alone reporting over 90 cruise ship visits for the 2010 -2011 season.
“This is turning out to be another fruitful year for tourism in Oman. There are many projects currently underway to welcome even more travelers to explore our culture, natural treasures and colorful history. We attribute Oman’s appeal to our range of offerings for holiday travelers and adventurers alike, from old forts and seaside palaces to pristine beaches and fun seasonal festivals. We intend to further develop the necessary infrastructure and programs to support this thriving sector,” said Salem Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotions, Oman Ministry of Tourism.
Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, the government body in charge of tapping the Sultanate’s travel and tourism potential, recently joined the International Council of Tourism Partners as an alliance member. The Ministry is thus in a better position to globally promote upcoming tourism developments such as the USD 2.5 billion ‘Omagine’ project covering a series of Integrated Tourism Complexes in Muscat and the USD 1 billion tourism resort being built in the port city of Salalah. A future Convention and Exhibition Centre scheduled to open in late 2013 will extend Oman’s appeal to business travelers as well.
Oman is also home to several heritage sites recognized by UNESCO’s International Heritage Preserve Program Administration. The Ministry of Tourism continues to improve on both the accessibility and protection of these sites as the Sultanate’s contributions to global culture.