Hotels in Oman must register guest details with police

Oman Tuesday 21/June/2016 21:03 PM
By: Times News Service
Hotels in Oman must register guest details with police

Muscat: Hotels in Oman have been told to register the names of all guest and their visitors with the Royal Oman Police on a daily basis, the tourism ministry has confirmed.
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Until now, a semi-voluntary reporting system has been in place, but the ministry announced last night that it is tightening up the rules as too many hotels have not been submitting the logs.
The ministry undersecretary has cited security and a more transparent auditing process as the main reasons for the new register.
They are also streamlining the reporting process by creating an online, electronic site for all hotels in the country.
That system will record information about guests and provide ROP with daily data on guests, their nationalities, check-in and check-out date, and time of stay.
They will also have to provide all information and statistics to the ministry regarding visitors to guest rooms and single females will be barred from hotel room visits unless accompanied by a relative.
The new ruling was announced last night at a meeting to discuss the Oman Tourism Strategy.
A source at the ministry said: “This time, all hotels will abide by the rule to send the data to ROP.
“Earlier, some hotels didn’t follow the rule but now all must follow. “Hotels who fail to do so will face legal action.”
Welcoming this decision, Vijay Handa, General Manager, Masirah Island Resort, said that it would enhance the safety of visitors.
“Now the ROP personnel visit our hotel and take our records but it would be better if everything is online and then we can send all details of our guests once someone checks into our hotel,” he said.
“This is a process that has been going on for so many years with the hotels and we can’t reveal what kind of details we give to the ROP as it is confidential between us and the ROP,” an official at the Intercontinental Muscat Hotel told Times of Oman.
An official at the Grand Hyatt Muscat Hotel said they have already complied with the ruling.
“We have been doing this for a long time,” she said.
According to Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa official they are ready to comply with the government’s needs.
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Maitha Al Mahrouqi, said: “Only five stars and four stars complied because they have regulations but three stars, two stars, one stars and camps (are) now required to activate the visitor system which is a government system to collect all visitors data at one place.
“The security reason is the first because all decisions made by us should consider the security matter. It’s also revenue. If we know how many visitors we can know how much we get. We could not know the revenue for many years. ROP started the visitor system. Now when visitors come to Oman they only require electronic visa. No need for anything else. They can come to Oman electronically and it shows also when they stay in hotels. Everything is clear in one place. To facilitate the procedure we require the daily report.
“When we asked before, every five stars hotel has its own operator and his own style of report. Everyone sends the report in different (format) shape and form. Now we have united the system and it’s one of the requirements of the regulations to include all hotel buildings weather its one star or two stars, hotel apartments - they have to do the same thing.”
An official from a hotel in Muscat said that passing on guest details to Royal Oman Police (ROP) is happening for the last few years on daily basis.
“We have been providing the details of guests from 2008 on a daily basis. We heard that the new law is going to make it mandatory. We provide guests details like check in and check out their identity proof and all,” the official added.
A businessman involved in tourism activities said that such measures are already in place in UAE and other countries.
“These steps can enhance security measures. It is a good practice. Making it mandatory is not going affect tourism sector,” Vipin Chandran, a senior official at Special Projects, which focuses on tourism activities, said.