Travelling to Oman? Book a hotel before buying a ticket

Oman Sunday 14/February/2021 20:26 PM
By: Times News Service
Travelling to Oman? Book a hotel before buying a ticket

Muscat: Many hotels in Oman are insisting passengers travelling to their home country to pay the entire amount towards their mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine before booking their flight tickets, so that they follow the preventive measures enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Booking payments are taken in advance,” said a representative of a hotel in the country. “Otherwise, people might show the authorities at the airport their booking confirmation, but go elsewhere and avoid the quarantine regulations.”  

Another hotel operator added: “We have allocated separate floors for passengers under quarantine. We insist that they book their rooms in advance, and pay the full amount before boarding their flights. For example, if our room rate is OMR22 per night, a passenger needs to pay for a seven-day booking. Only once this confirmation has been received,  he will be allowed to buy tickets.”

Starting Monday, February 15, passengers will no longer be allowed to buy flight tickets unless their hotel bookings have been first made.

The rule was put into effect after the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19 issued a decision requiring all passengers entering the country to spend a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine, followed by a PCR test on the eighth day.

The committee was compelled to take this action after many people were not adhering to the precautions set up to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Oman.

“Passengers who come to Muscat are not just those who live in the country, but also people who travel to other destinations, in this case, primarily Saudi Arabia,” said Faiyaz Khan, the general manager of Travel Point, one of many travel companies that have organised hotel quarantine packages for incoming passengers.

“In Oman, arrivals have to quarantine for a week, but it is two weeks for those coming to Saudi Arabia, even if they are transiting through Oman, so they first need to quarantine here and then fly onwards,” he added. “There are close to 1,000 passengers coming to the country every day, but there might not be enough hotels for all of them, so we have recommended they first confirm their hotel reservation and then book tickets.”

A number of travel agents in Oman have set up quarantine deals, which include transportation to the hotel from the airport, the removal of the tracking band that needs to be worn by people in quarantine, and a PCR test on the eighth day after their arrival in the country. 

An expatriate in Oman who was planning to bring his parents to join him in Muscat said he had postponed their travel plans owing to the existing regulations. “My parents are both rather old, and will not understand how to navigate through all of the rules currently in place,” he said. “They come visit me every year, and it is rather straightforward, but the measures enacted will make it tough for them, and I don’t want to burden them further.”

“Their visit can wait for a while…I will bring them once some of these measures have been lifted,” he added. “It is also rather expensive to bring them right now, what with the added PCR tests and the hotel stay, not to mention mandatory COVID-19 insurance.”