by Suman Gupta
Mumbai, 26th September 2018: The Ministry of Tourism, Oman successfully conducted the second leg of the multi-city roadshow in Mumbai today. The event witnessed around 140 notable companies of Mumbai’s travel trade in a bid to bridge connections between local travel agents and destination management companies, hotels and attraction operators in Oman.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism, led by Her Excellency, Maitha Saif Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) Oman along with representative partners from the tourism industry and Oman Air were present at the roadshow. The unique interactive platform with prefixed meetings gave trade partners and travel agents in the Indian market an opportunity to interact and learn more about the diverse product offerings and experiences that Oman has to offer. The roadshow was well attended and received a remarkable response from Mumbai.
Oman offers an authentic Arabian experience coupled with genuine hospitality and boasts of scenic beauty, rich culture, historic monuments and a beautiful coastline. The country has state-of-the-art infrastructure along with beautiful communion of old world charm and modernism. This makes Oman a preferred destination for travellers looking for a unique experience. The country’s stunning landscape appeals to every kind of holiday seeker; from families looking for solitude to a perfect honeymoon getaway or a group of friends in quest for an adventure of a lifetime.
Her Excellency, Maitha Saif Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be part of the tourism roadshow in Mumbai. The objective of the roadshow is to highlight the various facets of Oman as a destination and to create awareness about the new segments and offerings that the country has to offer. We see India as a promising potential market and have witnessed significant growth over a period of time. The Indian traveller is in a rapid state of evolution and is looking to be engaged in many ways. We recognise and acknowledge the demand we see from India and other potential markets. Hence, as part of the Sultanate’s National Tourism Strategy 2040, the Ministry of Tourism seeks to introduce the sector’s latest developments, services, projects and facilities of the tourism industry, such as opening the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport and launching the Electronic Visa. It also aims to promote the Sultanate’s unique cultural heritage, the pristine environment and terrain diversification that will allow tourists to experience the destination.”
Since 2014, Oman has witnessed over 31 per cent growth in Indian arrivals. In 2017 alone, Oman received 321,161 Indian visitors, showcasing growth of over 7 per cent in just one year.
Commenting on the roadshow, Ms. Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Ministry of Tourism, Oman said, “India represents an important and vast market for Oman given the high percentage of its residents willing to travel and experience new destinations across the world. The roadshow offers us a platform to expose the uniqueness of Oman as a holiday destination from India. Being a short journey, the country offers a diverse landscape and varied activities for the evolved Indian traveller. From luxurious resorts and campsites to exotic scuba diving spots to rustic shopping experiences, Oman has something to offer to anyone who has a quest for adventure and thirst for a distinctive cultural experience.”
Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism is fully committed to enhancing the MICE sector and to help the Sultanate achieve its potential to be a first-class destination for this segment. The Sultanate has seen an increase in business tourism with the recent launch of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat, which supports international and local organizations in hosting large events. The Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre includes state-of-the-art theatres, conference rooms and four hotels with almost 1000 rooms along with major exhibition halls that can cater to tens of thousands of people at one time.
“Oman is not only seeing a surge in MICE travel but also a preferred wedding destination for many. Muscat is a well endowed city with modern infrastructure and provides a perfect set up for weddings with various urban world class hotels. Being under 3 hours away and having excellent air connectivity with various cities in India also makes Oman a preferable wedding destination for Indians. What also works in Oman’s favour is the newness it brings. It is still a relatively unexplored destination and this also adds value as Indian clients want to explore new destinations”, adds Ms. Sheerazi.Oman Air, the national carrier is connected via direct flights with major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Kochi, Goa, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram. Besides, Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo are also well connected from various cities of India.
Furthermore, to encourage more travellers to visit the country, Oman has recently announced a new short-term tourist visa at 5 Omani Riyal (OMR) equivalent to approximately INR 940 to visit the Sultanate for a period of 10 days. Indians who hold a valid visa to any one of these countries – United States of America, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan and Schengen States can avail the Oman visa through an e-visa process by simply logging on to https://evisa.rop.gov.om/ and make the 5 OMR payment on checkout, whereas other Indian travellers can get a sponsored visa by paying 5 OMR plus processing fee through their tour operators. This is in addition to the existing e-visa for Oman which is available at 20 OMR with a validity of one month. The amendments include dividing tourist visas into three sections: 10 days, one month and one year.