Muscat: Around 32,000 tourists entered Oman on Friday and Saturday through three border points to enjoy the beauty of the Sultanate, Ministry of Tourism statistics reveal.
In a tweet on its official twitter handle, the Ministry of Tourism revealed that 11,863 tourists entered Oman through Hafeet border, 12,427 through Jizzi border and 8,300 through Saa’ border.
According to government data, arrival numbers have increased by an average of 7.4 per cent per year over the past decade, rising from 1.1m in 2005 to nearly 2.1m last year.
In 2014 more than 70 per cent of visitors stayed for more than one night, with average stays rising from five nights in 2005 to 7.4 in 2014.
Last year alone the average visit duration increased by 0.5 nights, contributing to a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in inbound tourist expenditure.
While inbound visitor numbers are on the rise, travellers’ motivations for visiting Oman have remained relatively static over the past five years. On average, around one-third of travellers come for leisure and recreation, while about 39 per cent travel to visit friends or relatives; the rest come largely for business.
Although increasing arrivals from Asia and Europe have contributed to sector growth over the last decade, inbound visitors from other GCC countries continue to dominate, hitting a record 961,306 last year. When combined with the 129,869 visitors from other Arab states, this represents well over 50% of all arrivals in 2014.
The sector currently accounts for 2.2 per cent of Oman’s GDP, as per NCSI figures, with inbound tourism generating OMR250.9m ($651.6m) last year – nearly double the amount earned in 2005.
Meanwhile, domestic travel earnings topped OMR970m ($2.5bn), up three-fold over the period.
According to the latest World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report, the industry’s contribution to GDP is expected to increase by an average of 6.1 per cent per year through to 2025, to reach 3.3 per cent of GDP.
Direct employment in the industry is also set to climb, expanding from its present 2.8 per cent of the workforce, representing some 44,500 jobs, to 3.7 per cent, or 72,000 positions, by 2025, for an average increase of 3.8 per cent per annum over the period.