One of the biggest reasons for a surge in the arrival of tourists in Oman has been the opening up of visa-free entry for the people of 103 countries. The decision to extend visa-free entry for 14 days for tourists from 103 countries has turned out to be a catalyst in promoting the tourism sector.
The decision was taken to support the tourism industry in Oman with visa-free facilities provided as per specific regulations and conditions. According to the latest statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the Sultanate of Oman witnessed a massive 348 per cent jump in tourists in 2022 compared to 2021 with 2.9 million tourists arriving in Oman in 2022.
The surge in the arrival of tourists saw the revenues of 3-5 star hotels rising by 50.8 per cent at the end of January 2023 compared to the corresponding period in 2022 to stand at OMR20.79 million.
The latest data saw occupancy rate record a rise by 31.3 per cent to reach 53.7 per cent, compared to 40.9 per cent during the corresponding period in 2022 while the number of 3-5 star hotels’ guests stood at 173,313, an increase of 65 per cent till the end of January 2023 as compared to the same period in 2022.
Targeting the huge market of India for tourism purposes, the ROP official said: “Indian tourists are among the 30 countries who are allowed entry on arrival, provided they have an entry visa of the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Schengen countries, Japan or have a resident permit of one of the GCC countries. The resident/work permit should be one of the professions that are approved by the Oman government.”
Besides India, the other 29 countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Albania, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Vietnam, Bhutan, Guatemala, Belarus, Cuba, Panama, Peru, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Egypt.” The ROP official added that there was an option for tourists from the 103 countries to extend their stay for more than 14 days.
Following the specified period, travellers from the countries must apply online for an e-visa for a fee of OMR 20 for a period of one month. They can also apply for a multi-entry visa for one year, provided that their stay on each visit is not more than a month,” the officer said, noting that certain conditions need to be met.
Among the major countries whose nationals are allowed to enter Oman visa-free for 14 days are Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Georgia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Belgium, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Cyprus, Ukraine, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Ireland, United Kingdom, Poland, Slovakia, France, Netherlands, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, China, United States of America, Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Iran, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Canada, Malaysia, and Singapore.—INP