Muscat: Forbes has featured six reasons on why Muscat should be on your travel wish list for 2016, on Monday.
Citing Oman as exotic, historic, unusual, adventurous and geologically stunning, Ann Abel, a contributor for Forbes, says that the relaxed energy is especially evident in Muscat, a city of 1.5 million that remains low-slung and charming.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, dune bashing in the Empty Quarter, the Bait al Zubair Museum, the Royal Opera House Muscat, the atrium lobby of the Al Bustan Palace and Wadis are the six attractions highlighted by the contributor for why Oman should be on your travel wish list.
Last year also, the influential travel site Skift named Oman its number one “big, soul-satisfying place to visit”.
“Laid-back and slow in the tumultuous Arab world sounds like an oxymoron, but in Oman’s case, it happens to be true, due to its history on the crossroads of the sea-trading world; that pioneering culture brought in different influences from around the world.... Sultan Qaboos is as benevolent a monarch as you would find in that part of the world and has been responsible for the country’s exceptional religious tolerance,” wrote Skift’s Rafat Ali.
“Oman packs a lot in a small package, with desert, rugged coast and beaches, water sports and diving, forts-every-few-miles, green valleys, old school bazaars and old school Arabian hospitality,” Rafat had said.
According to latest figures, the number of tourists who visited the Sultanate till the end of October 2015 stood at 2,200,000.
The statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) pointed out that the number of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tourists stood at 949,063, Indians 237,305, British 120,099and Germans tourist numbers stood at 77,345.
As for the cruise ships tourists, NCSI statistics showed that they reached 101,000 tourists. The Germans cruise ships tourists came on the top with 28,411, followed by the Italians with 11,368, the British Virgin Islands with 8,125, the British with 5,166 and the Spanish with 3,284.
Meanwhile, the statistics pointed out that the total revenues of the 3-5 starts hotels amounted to OMR153.19 million till the end of October 2015, while the number of guests stood at 964,900.
The number of guests of the aforesaid hotels during October 2015 stood at 116,863, compared with 139,883 during the same month in 2014, registering a decline by 16.5 per cent.
As for the nationalities of the guests, the Europeans came first with 40,483, followed by the Omanis with 35,606, the Asians with 13,668, the GCC with 13,232, the Americans with 4,284, the Arab with 5,672 and the guests from Oceania with 1,258.
The aforesaid hotels registered 64.3 per cent occupancy rate during October 2015 compared to 65.2 per cent in October 2014, a decline by 1.3 per cent.