A major push for tourism

Oman Wednesday 09/December/2020 21:54 PM
By: Times News Service
A major push for tourism
Hotel operators in Oman have welcomed the announcement of visa-free entry for 103 nationalities. Photo: Shutterstock

Muscat: Oman’s decision to allow visa-free arrival to citizens of more than 100 countries has been welcomed by hoteliers and tour operators in the country, who have said that it will boost tourism in the country.

With tourism being significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve also said that the move has come at the right time.

“In support of increased movement of tourists, and to make it easier for tourists wishing to visit the Sultanate, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) announced that nationals of 103 countries visiting the country for up to 10 days will be exempted from entry visas,” said a statement from the ROP.

“This exemption will be according to specified terms and conditions, which include the presence of a confirmed hotel booking made in advance, health insurance, and a return ticket,” it added.

Praveen George, the general manager of sales and operations at Al Falaj Hotel, said that it is a move in the right direction, particularly given the current circumstances.

“The economic impact of the pandemic has been felt by everybody, so potential tourists may not have much money to spend on travel as they previously did,” he said.

“Any decision to improve the conditions for tourism in the country will be welcomed by everyone. Travel agents, hoteliers and leisure services around the world, not to mention airlines, have been quite severely affected by the COVID-19.”

“The announcement of visa-free entry for 103 nationalities means we can now see visitors from different countries, a different customer to the one we are used to,” he explained.

Adding to this, Faiyaz Khan, general manager for Travel Point, said, “We have been receiving a lot of requests from travellers of other GCC countries, as well as the European markets. This announcement is a welcome piece of news that will bring a lot of relief to travel agents and hoteliers in the country.”

Siraj Memon, cluster director of sales and market for Anantara’s hotels in Oman, said: “This decision is a good one and I am sure it will be welcomed by all hotel operators in the country. We can now expect to see a resumption of tourists from our target regional markets.”