Muscat: Oman has seen an increase of 100,000 visitors in the first half of 2018, compared to the same time period last year.
According to the latest figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), 1.4 million visitors entered the country through May 2018, while 1.3 million were recorded in May 2017 and 909,000 in May 2016.
GCC nationals topped the numbers at 514,024, while Indians were second at 149,251, followed by Germans (131,165), British (92,970), and Italians (56,141). Of note, citizens from the GCC, India, UK and Philippines were the top countries to visit the Sultanate in May 2017.
Meanwhile, more than 2.5 million Omanis travelled abroad as outbound tourists as of May this year.
Cruise ship visitors to the Sultanate in May 2018 reached 127,000, consisting of 54,962 visitors from Germany, 12,829 from the UK, 11,939 from Italy, 9,688, 5,124 from the US, and 4,235 from Holland, according to figures released by NCSI.
This constant boost in the tourism sector is in line with Oman’s National Strategy for Tourism 2040, which aims to increase the contribution of the private sector in tourism projects and government investments, which includes infrastructure projects.
“One of the most important objectives the Oman Tourism Strategy seeks to achieve is an increasing contribution of the sector to the national GDP, in conjunction with the sustainable development process currently taking place in other economic sectors. The Ministry of Tourism has recognised the key role tourism can play in enhancing the standard of living of Omanis across the country.
“Another important objective is to capitalise on the capabilities of the tourism sector to generate job creation and provide employment opportunities, in addition to substantial prospects for new Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),” said Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, the Minister of Tourism, in the Executive Summary of Oman’s Tourism Strategy, which highlights the way forward in developing Oman’s tourism potential as part of the Tanfeedh plans for economic diversification – in a bid to expand the Sultanate’s revenue streams as the country attempts to move away from fossil-fuel-based sources of revenue, such as oil and gas.