More than half of all Omanis choose home holidays
January 1, 2018 | 4:04 PM
by ONA
The Governorates of Muscat, Dhofar and South A'Sharqiyah vied with other tourist destinations of the country. -ONA

Muscat: As the tourism sector in the Sultanate gears up to boost the GDP, 57 per cent of Omanis have taken at least one domestic leisure trip with an average of nine members per trip.

Among the much sought-after destinations, the Governorates of Muscat, Dhofar and South A'Sharqiyah vied with other tourist destinations of the country, according to a poll conducted by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) between March 22 and April 4, 2017.

The NCSI conducted the poll among 1,501 Omanis, both male and female, in the 18-year and above age category, from all the governorates of the Sultanate, and with varying levels of education.

Three in five of the respondents have taken at least one leisure trip within the Sultanate during the 12 months before the poll.

The poll shows that 43 per cent of Omanis did not make any leisure trips within the Sultanate for at least one year.

Of these, 42 per cent could not make any domestic trips because they did not have time, while 18 per cent said the financial costs discouraged them from undertaking any trips and 13 per cent said that they lacked the desire to travel.

There were other reasons cited in lower percentages. Muscat ranked first among the local tourist destinations with 35 per cent of the visitors visiting the capital city for shopping and entertainment, while Dhofar is in the second place with about one-third of the people visiting Salalah.

South A'Sharqiyah came in third place, with 28 per cent of domestic tourists, and Sur is the preferred destination in the governorate.

The highest percentage of domestic tourist trips are reported from Dhofar governorate (64 per cent), followed by the Governorate of A'Dakhiliyah (61 per cent) and the Governorate of Muscat (60 per cent).

The lowest percentage was reported from the Governorate of Musandam (36 per cent).Of the total domestic tourists, 60 per cent were males.

The level of education has also influenced travel decisions and the study shows that the proportion of individuals who have made domestic trips significantly increases with the level of education and the proportion decreases significantly with age.

Marital status of an individual does not affect the tourist activity, the poll found.

The percentage of individuals who made domestic trips clearly increased with the economic level, where the percentage reached 71 per cent of the households whose monthly income exceeds OMR900, compared with only 45 per cent among households with monthly income of OMR300 and below.

The poll showed that the beauty of the place and the moderate weather were the main reason for three out of every five respondents for visiting a destination, while a quarter (24 per cent) said that the availability of tourist services was a reason for choosing the destination they visited.

Fourteen per cent of the people chose the destination on the advice of their parents or friends.

The other reasons cited by the respondents at lower rates are proximity to the place of residence, fame of the place, shopping facilities, among others.

The vast majority of individuals (92 per cent) used private cars to reach the last tourist destination they visited, while a small percentage (4 per cent) used the plane, which was to travel to Muscat or Dhofar in most cases.

On the tourist destination, the poll found that half of the people stayed overnight during their last local tourist trip.

About a quarter of the domestic tourists stayed in hotels or hotel apartments during their stay at the last local tourist destination while 27 per cent stayed in furnished apartments, and 18 per cent stayed with their relatives or friends.

31 per cent of people used other accommodation such as camping or private residences.

The poll results indicate that a person spent about OMR14 on average in the local journey if he does not stay overnight, while it costs around OMR24 on an average for each night he stays at a tourist destination.

The poll also elicited proposals from the respondents for improving tourist sites.

The most important of these proposals were the development of tourist sites with the required services by 86 per cent, the establishment of integrated entertainment cities by 20 per cent, tourism promotion by 10 per cent, the establishment of parks and water parks by 9 per cent, in addition to many other proposals at lower percentages.

The most important tourist services and facilities that respondents said should be available at any tourist destination were clean toilets topping the list by 74 per cent followed by the availability of shops and restaurants by 53 per cent and the availability of shaded places to sit and relax by 34 per cent.Security and safety was at the forefront of the most satisfied services/facilities.

95 per cent of the respondents said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with security at destinations.

Cleanliness (74 per cent) and good roads leading to the tourist site (71 per cent) were the other facilities that were voted high by the respondents.

In contrast, the lowest services / facilities in terms of citizens’ satisfaction were the non-availability of toilets and the general lack of cleanliness of toilets, with only 35 per cent of citizens saying that they were satisfied or very satisfied with it.

Citizens (45 per cent) also expressed dissatisfaction with the non-availability shaded places to sit and relax, and 49 per cent were disappointed with the lack of entertainment facilities at the tourist destinations.

The NCSI’s poll reveals that the main source of information for domestic tourists about tourist attractions is family and friends.

Three out of every five Omanis (61 per cent) depend on family and friends for their information and, in contrast, 44 per cent of individuals rely on the Internet, or other social media (14 per cent).Only 12 per cent of the respondents depend on television, print and a minority depends on newspaper advertisements (4 per cent).

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