Muscat: Oman will host an estimated five million annual visitors by 2020, a 120 per cent increase from 2015, according to an official at the Ministry of Tourism.
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While this seems a tall order, it is worth noting that Oman’s inbound tourism doubled between 2005 and 2014.
At the same time, domestic tourism has more than tripled, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
By the end of October 2015, the number of inbound visitors stood at 2.2 million, according to NCSI.
After 24 years, according to the ministry’s plan, Oman will receive some 12 million visitors per year, the source added. “Out of the 11.7 million people who are expected to visit the Sultanate in 2040, a whopping 5.3 million will be international tourists, while 4.6 million are domestic tourists,” the official said during the Real Estate Forum, which hosted the industry’s leaders at the Crown Plaza Muscat Hotel. The NCSI has recently released figures indicating that tourism will account for 6 per cent of Oman’s gross domestic product by 2040.
According to data from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the number of international travellers in 2014 reached 1.1 billion, representing a 4.7 per cent increase from 2013. This data is in line with a five year trend showing strong growth in the tourism sector. Despite instability in some regions, the Middle East saw a 4 per cent rise in visitors, attracting 2 million additional travellers.