Muscat: About 200 cruise ships may visit the various ports of the Sultanate of Oman in the 2022/2023 season.
Many tourism events and activities are currently being held in the Sultanate of Oman in various governorates, coinciding with the winter tourism season, with the aim of stimulating tourism and highlighting the ingredients and the diversity of the terrain that characterizes it.
Haitham bin Mohammed Al Ghassani, Director General of Tourism Promotion at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, said:" In order to activate the winter tourism season in the Sultanate of Oman, which starts from October to April of each year, the Ministry has announced a set of programmes, events and festivals that it organises during the first half of this year in the various governorates of the Sultanate of Oman, some of which started since the beginning of the year, such as the Empty Quarter Festival and the Desert Adventures Festival in North Al Sharqiyah, the Iron Man event, and others."
Haitham Al Ghassani added that the coming period will witness the establishment of some other activities in the rest of the governorates, such as the events that will be held in the governorates of Musandam and Al Buraimi. These activities will contribute to creating a tourist movement in the various governorates of the Sultanate of Oman, as well as increasing the accommodation or operational rates of hotel facilities.
Al Ghassani stressed that the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is working to increase the movement of cruise ships to the Sultanate of Oman, as cruise ship tourism is a tourism pattern that contributes to attracting tourists from all countries of the world.
Khalid bin Mohammed Al Azri, Director of the Department of Tourism Patterns at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, explained that the Sultanate of Oman has succeeded in attracting many of the largest companies operating cruise ships to several ports, such as the port of Salalah, the port of Sultan Qaboos in Muscat and the port of Khasab.
"The cruise ship sector is of great importance in promoting the Sultanate of Oman as one of the prominent destinations regionally and globally and benefits from the presence of this category of tourists by organising trips and tourism programmes for various destinations," Al Azri said.
The Director of the Department of Tourism Patterns at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism indicated that the number of ship visitors in one of the tourist seasons before recovery reached 280,000 visitors, and with the return of the sector and recovery, it is expected that the numbers will return to what they were before, and that the number of cruise ships during the 2022/2023 season will reach about 200 ships.
Nailesh Khimji, a member of the Board of Directors of the Khimji Ramdas Group, explained that the tourism sector will be the largest generator of job opportunities during the coming period, both locally and globally, noting that the tourism sector has been witnessing steady growth over the past few years.
"The Khimji Group for Travel and Tourism seeks to contribute to the growth of the tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman by attracting tourists and offering various tourism packages, especially for tourists arriving via cruise ships that dock in the ports of the Sultanate of Oman. Last year, Khimji Group for Travel and Tourism dealt with more than 80 cruise ships. It is possible that the number of cruise ships coming to the Sultanate of Oman this year will reach 97 ships," Nailesh Khimji added.
The group has partnerships with international companies in the travel and tourism sector that provide tourism packages for the benefit of international companies specialised in organising trips and tours.
Mohammed bin Salem Al Hajri, Director of Public Relations at Jawharat Bidiyah Resort in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate, said: "Winter tourism is one of the seasons that works to stimulate the internal tourism movement in all governorates of the Sultanate of Oman in general, by attracting tourists from inside and outside the Sultanate of Oman to visit tourist sites and unique places in each governorate."
"The Wilayat of Bidiyah witnesses a noticeable tourist movement during the winter season, due to its distinction with the presence of camps in the middle of the sands, and the holding of artistic and entertainment events that simulate the customs and traditions of the North Al Sharqiyah Governorate. The occupancy rate in the wilayat's tourist camps and resorts during this season reached 100 percent," Al Hajri added.