Muscat: Oman is looking for growth in its mid-market travel sector as challenging global and regional economic conditions weigh on people’s willingness to spend.
“That is one of the reasons we are focusing on rural areas to bring more tourists to Oman,” a senior official attached to Oman’s tourism sector said.
A tourism department official said a 23-room hotel in Ibra is opening in September 2017.
Ibra is the second largest city in the Ash Sharqiyah region of Oman and is about 170 km from Muscat. In the past, it was famous for its fine horses and horsemen.
Another hotel with six chalets featuring private swimming pools is coming up at Bidiyah. “It is likely to open in April 2017,” an official said.
Bidiyah, located in Ash Sharqiyah region, is 233 kms from Muscat and is well known for its golden sand dunes that attract tourists from all over the world.
Recently, the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) had announced opening up of three new budget hotels in Muscat in the first quarter of 2017 to boost Oman’s tourism.
Detailing the projects, the MoT said Hisn Al Musannah Hotel with 40 rooms is set to open in April 2017.
Al Salam hotel apartment, opening in Barka in February 2017, will have 30 apartments catering to the tourists, the MoT said.
The ministry also announced that another hotel is coming up in Barka. “Orchid Hotel with 27 apartments will be opened this year,” the MoT said recently.
Travel agents said these budget hotels will boost tourism in a significant manner since the Sultanate has a shortage of such hotels.
“A lot of travellers look for budget accommodation. So it would be great if we have more hotels which can cater to tourists who do not look at four or five star accommodation,” said an official of New Star Travel in Ruwi.
Oman is looking at 8-12 per cent annual growth in tourism.