Oman tourism ministry officials said Saudi Arabia was fast becoming its major tourism market with the tourist arrivals from the Kingdom hitting 60,000 in 2011, up 17 per cent compared to the previous year.
Tourism is a key growth industry for the Sultanate with international arrivals to Muscat reaching 2.4 million in 2011 (14 per cent higher than the previous year), with GGC arrivals increasing by 27 per cent, said Oman Tourism officials ahead of a key travel expo in Riyadh.
Oman Tourism will take part in a big way at the ‘Riyadh Travel Fair 2012,’ a key networking event for leading travel and regional tourism companies which opens tomorrow and runs till May 18 in the Saudi capital.
Oman is set to showcase popular tourist destinations and festivals, as well as Muriya’s newly-opened resort hotels at Jebel Sifah and Salalah at the expo. As well, a number of hotels will open towards the end of 2012 including Best Western in Al Khuwair and Holiday Inn in As Seeb, said a top official.
Ali Khaburi, the director general of Tourism Promotion at Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, said: “Saudi is a key tourism market from many perspectives. Saudi visitors are growing in number and we think they are also increasing their length of stay. The market is broadening from business and family segments with short break leisure travel becoming more prominent.’
‘We also think Salalah has significant year-round potential for the Saudi Arabian market, and growing demand for travel will lead to non-stop air services between Saudi Arabia and Salalah,” he stated.
The Tourism Ministry, he said, sees the Riyadh fair as a valuable platform for trade and consumer communications, as well as reinforcing Oman’s tourism brand campaign: ‘Beauty has an address ~ Oman.’
A highlight of the fair is the year-round calendar of events developed to celebrate Muscat’s nomination as Arab Tourism Capital 2012, he noted.
‘The Ministry will give a special presentation about the Salalah Tourism Festival that heralds the start of the ‘Khareef’ season that turns Dhofar into a lush green landscape. The Salalah Tourism Festival runs from 21 June to 18 July this year,’ remarked Ali Khaburi.
“With so much happening, we look forward to more Saudi families and leisure travellers including Oman in their 2012 travel plans,” he added.