Muscat: Travel and tourism offices must follow preventive measures before the arrival of the tourist, requesting them to get a medical certificate, make their booking online to avoid the use of paper documents, and ensure health insurance for all tourists before completing the booking procedures. It is recommended to organise trips in small groups not exceeding 15 people.
The Ministry of Tourism said, "The Ministry, in implementing the decisions to reopen travel and tourism offices issued by the Supreme Committee in charge to deal with the COVID-19, has released a guide of preventive measures to be followed in travel and tourism offices, which includes a number of preventive instructions that those in charge of such offices must follow."
"The guide aims to provide personal protection for all workers in travel and tourism offices, tour operators, tourist transport activities, tour guides and tourist groups to achieve a balance of normal life and the continuation of precautionary measures. Precautionary measures taken to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace include training employees in customer interaction procedures and virus prevention mechanisms, physical distancing measures, sustainable provision of hygiene, sterilisation and personal protective equipment, and the use of signs on site to remind of precautions measures to be followed," the statement added.
In light of this, the Ministry of Tourism held a meeting through visual communication on Monday, June 29, 2020, headed by His Excellency Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism, and in the presence of His Excellency Qais Al Youssef, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI). The meeting discussed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel and tourism companies, the most important challenges they face and the extent of their commitment to the precautionary measures.
His Excellency confirmed during his speech that "the meeting comes in light of the Sultanate’s keenness to restart the work in various economic sectors, especially the tourism sector. The travel and tourism companies are one of the pillars of this sector, without which we cannot provide integrated products to tourists. We are here today to listen closely to your proposals to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, as well as to ensure that you are ready after the sector returns to work."
His Excellency Qais Al Youssef, Chairman of OCCI, confirmed that "the Ministry of Tourism is playing an active role by communicating with partners in the sector to find solutions to get out of this crisis, dealing with the expected effects, granting incentives and facilities to the sector, and raising these proposals to the Supreme Committee in charge to deal with COVID-19."
Al Youssef added, "It is important in the coming period to know when the travel movement will open in order for the travel and tourism companies to lay out their plans and programmes, and support must be provided to local travel and tourism companies operating in the Sultanate by hotel establishments compared to the incentives offered to international travel companies."
"The most prominent topics discussed during the meeting were organising work in travel and tourism companies, setting standards for competition in the market, and creating a unified system through which travel and tourism companies can operate, such as the formation of a committee under the Tourism Committee of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which will contribute greatly to addressing the challenges that these offices face during their work due to the privacy that travel and tourism offices have."
The participants also stressed the importance of supporting this sector, as it is one of the sectors affected at the global and local levels, in cooperation with the relevant authorities to make attractive tourism packages during the coming period in addition to promoting the Sultanate in targeted markets.