Muscat: As a result of consistent efforts by the government to make proper investments in Oman’s tourism sector, in a span of two years, Oman has jumped 38 places on the global Human Resources and Labour Market Index. Ranked 103rd on this index in 2017, Oman’s huge leap forward has seen it rise to 65th this year.
In addition, between 2017 and 2019, Oman rose eight places on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, which in turn created a positive impact on businesses related to the tourism and allied sectors.
The value added to the tourism sector increased by 6.8 per cent to reach OMR789 million at the end of 2018, compared to OMR738 million in 2017. Tourism contributes 2.6 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product.
The Sultanate also advanced eight positions in the index of air transport infrastructure to occupy the 49th place globally with 3.4 points, reflecting the progress made by the Sultanate in the development and modernisation of this sector.
Aiding Oman in this achievement is the modernisation of Muscat International Airport, the increased number of destinations of the national carrier Oman Air, and improvement of its services.
The country also went up 13 places to reach the 34th position in the world in the index of land and port infrastructure.
In 2017 the Sultanate moved 78 places from 122 to 44 world over, in the sub-index of visa requirements reflecting the progress made in terms of creating suitable conditions for tourism and travel.
Many facilities for obtaining tourist and visit visas, both on arrival at Muscat International Airport or through the electronic visa system, are now being made available.
In terms of tangible and intangible cultural element, which is a matter of huge interest the world over, the Sultanate reached the 8th position.
Tourists have shown keen interest in learning about Oman’s traditions, arts, social practices, festivals as well as its handicrafts.
Similarly, the Sultanate of Oman jumped six positions in the index of the number of world cultural heritage sites located in the country, to reach the 49th position in the world.
Thanks to the efforts of various authorities and organisations of the country in preparing comprehensive files for the nomination and listing of heritage sites, the Sultanate has successfully included many places of great historical importance on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There has been an upward trend in the number of tourists coming to the Sultanate from abroad over the years. In 2011, the number of tourists coming to Oman was 1,394,851. In 2018, this number rose by about 132 percent to reach 3,241,757. By the end of September 2018, the number of domestic tourists of the Sultanate had touched 2,525,151.