Muscat: Oman welcomed 46,000 cruise ship visitors in January, official data reveals.
“In January, 46,000 cruise ship visitors toured Oman,” Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information
(NCSI) revealed in its latest tourism index.
Among the visitors, around 88 per cent were from Europe and out of that 27 per cent were Germans.
“Oman has a huge potential for cruise tourism. And moreover, visitors see Oman as the safest place in the region,” Santhosh Kanakandath, managing director of Assaraya Travel and Tourism, told the Times of Oman. “With the recent initiatives adopted by the government, we see a bright future for Oman cruise tourism,” Kanakandath added.
When compared with December 2016 cruise ship visitors’ arrival, January saw a 6.7 per cent spike.
The number of cruise ship visitors in December was pegged at 43,000. Oman welcomed its first cruise ship for this season with the arrival of Thomson Cruises in September 2016. It was the first of 152 expected cruise ships come into the country in 2016-2017.
Oman’s Ministry of Tourism had also made facilities for the tourists to enjoy a range of water sporting activities, ranging from diving and surfing to traditional boating experiences in different ports of the Sultanate (Sultan Qaboos Port, Khasab Port and Salalah Port). In a statement uploaded on the ministry’s official website, Salim Adi Al Mamari, director general of tourism promotion, said Oman has seen a remarkable growth in cruise tourism, a trend that the Ministry of Tourism aims to promote and grow.
“The cruise tourism segment is a perfect gateway for tourists to discover the rich culture and beauty of the Sultanate. We will work on making this season a successful and wonderful experience, enriching the tourism sector in the Sultanate,” he said. The 2014-2015 season saw 109 cruise ships anchoring at the Sultan Qaboos Port, while the 2015-2016 season saw 135 cruise ships, indicating a 23.8 per cent increase.
It included some of the largest names in the cruise tourism industry, such as Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Meanwhile, P&O Cruises, a British and American cruise line operated by Carnival UK, has announced the details for a cruise tour in the region for the first time.
P&O Cruises’ 10-night Gulf cruises will be a round trip from Dubai and will include visits to the Sir Bani Yas Island, Manama, Khasab, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Salalah and Muscat.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, a U.K.-based, Norwegian-owned cruise shipping line, has also included Omani ports in its fly-cruise itineraries for 2018-2019.