Muscat: About a year and a half after its launch in Muscat, the only open-topped bus tour operator in Oman's capital says business has been a success and the company is on the right track to provide quality services for the growing number of tourists.
"We have been very happy with the success of Big Bus Muscat and continue to look forward to a successful future," Mike Lees, general manager at Big Bus, the largest operator of open top sightseeing tours in the world, told the Times of Oman.
"Passenger numbers met our expectations for last year," Lees said, without elaborating.
He added, "We have a fleet of five buses in Muscat. These double-decker buses have been customised for Muscat's climate, providing choice for our international guests. These include open top with canopy, open top with no canopy and hall top with upper deck air condition, open top with canopy and complete open top."
Asked if the company plans to increase the number of such buses in Muscat, Lees said, "This year we have no plans to increase the fleet's size but can always review the decision."
He said that Big Bus always considers offering new services with an aim to enhance the experience of tourists visiting Oman. "We always search for new locations in order to enhance the overall tour experience, and will continue to do so, as we do in case of all our tours worldwide."
Lees also said that in the future, the company may add night tours to its itinerary.
"We look at all opportunities and should the need arise, we would implement a night tour as we do with our other cities."
The general manager at Big Bus added that the company is currently working with the authorities on implementing bus stop poles, adding that the government has been very supportive of the initiative.
"We aim to introduce this infrastructure in the future," Lees said.
Asked if the company is considering reducing the charges to attract more tourists, he said, "We find that tourists are more than happy with our fare which offers value for money for a world class sightseeing experience."
Commenting on the quality of the services provided to passengers and clarity of instructions, Lees said, "All our guests receive an information guide which includes a tour timetable as well as information about the city of Muscat.
"Bus frequency is every 30 minutes during winter and every 60 minutes during summer. This is advertised on our global website, free map, information guide and Big Bus app. In addition to this, all tourists who purchase a ticket are provided with all tour information and timetable at the point of sale."
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Madlene, a tourist from Switzerland, said that she was happy with the "very good" services that she received and said that instructions and maps were clear enough.
She also said that tourists will definitely welcome tours at night when the weather cools down. "It would be very nice."
Rolf, another Swiss national, said that ticket prices are high. "It was more expensive than in Europe." However, he said that he was satisfied with the quality of the services provided by Big Bus.
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