357,147 Indian travellers visited the country from January to December 2018, making India of the best performing markets for the Arab nation. Given the growth in the Indian outbound market, in the times ahead, India will only assume a greater significance in Oman’s ambitious vision for 2040.  

Lubaina Sheerazi
India Representative,
Ministry of Tourism, Oman

The Sultanate of Oman has recorded a 12.37% growth in Indian tourist arrivals with 357,147 travellers visiting the country from January to December 2018 vis-à-vis 317,844 in 2017. The development has effectively positioned India as the second biggest source market for Oman.

It is a significant growth of 39.4% over the last five years, as per the statistics released by Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). The country received 1,484,063 international travelers in 2018 vis-à-vis 1,369,199 in 2017, which is significantly higher, showcasing a growth of over 8.39%. The numbers do not include regional travelers from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, who do not require a visa.

Speaking about the incredible growth, Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Ministry of Tourism, Oman said “2018 has been a splendid year for the Ministry of Tourism. India represents a substantial and vast market for Oman, given the high percentage of travellers willing to travel abroad and experience new destinations. We have been observing a steady year-on-year increase in tourist arrivals to Oman from India and are extremely pleased with the consistent growth,” she said.

 She added that India had been “an important market” and they were delighted to share that it had been “one of the best performing countries, reaching the status of second highest source market after GCC.” “Several initiatives have contributed to this success, such as launch of the Electronic visa, direct flight connectivity from various cities in India and opening of the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport, among others. With growing number of travellers each year, we are expecting double digit growth in 2019 as well,” she added.

The Oman Tourism Strategy, developed by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), foresees at least 11.7mn international and domestic tourists by 2040, triggered by domestic and international investments into the sector of around OMR 20 billion over the period.

“As part of the its 2040 strategy, the Ministry of Tourism is undertaking major steps to develop and promote a series of destinations across Oman, offering visitors a broader variety of distinctive experiences, with the goal of encouraging extended visits and greater engagement with the country’s culture and natural sites”, Lubaina Sheerazi further said.

The economic diversification strategy adopted by the government of Oman is being credited for the significant rise in tourism numbers. Last year saw the opening of the state-of-the-art Muscat International Airport, giving the country a luxurious gateway offering unrivaled service and earning the prestigious best new airport in the world. Also, to attract more travellers to visit the country, Oman had announced a new short-term tourist visa at 5 Omani Riyal (OMR) equivalent to approximately INR 930, for a 10-day visit.  Oman is not only seeing a surge in MICE travel but also a preferred wedding destination for many.

The country’s stunning landscape is increasingly appealing to every kind of holiday seeker and significant air connectivity through Oman Air and Indian carriers, besides other gulf carriers, has also catalyzed the growth in numbers.