Oman seeks Saudi investors in tourism

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal walks with Oman's Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah upon his arrival at Riyadh airport before heading for a GCC meeting May 22, 2011. (File photo: Reuters)

Oman is seeking to attract more Saudi tourists and businesspeople with better infrastructure, services and financial incentives, Alem Al-Mamari, director of development at the Oman Ministry of Tourism, said.

“We’re continually trying to attract Saudi tourists to Oman. Our statistics show an increase in Saudi tourists to several places in Oman, particularly Salalah.”

However, the tourism authority wants to attract Saudi tourists to many other places in the country. He said 17,000 Saudis visited Oman in 2013, mostly to Salalah, which is a small number in relation to the Kingdom’s population.

He said Oman has well-developed infrastructure for businesspeople including hotels, transport and telecommunications. The Omani government also provides other incentives for private and public sector partnerships in land and other projects.

“We provide contracts for between 50 and 90 years. In addition, travelers from 66 nations can get visas on arrival in Oman. The others can get visas from tourism offices. Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council countries can enter Oman without visas,” he said.

Oman wants to continue developing its tourism industry. “We don’t care about the number but the quality of tourists coming to Oman. We’re trying to reach a situation where Gulf tourists can move around the region like Europeans do on their continent, and encouraging their people to spend their euros and dollars in European countries,” he noted.

Moreover, he said the Omani government wants to increase its hotel rooms from 14,000 to 32,000 by 2020. He said the country is developing five international airports including one in Salalah that would open this year, and another in Muscat that would open in 2015.

First published by the Saudi Gazette on Jan. 5, 2013.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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