The growth can be attributed to the continuing efforts made by the Ministry of Tourism to entice more regional and international visitors to the country and achieve the goals set forth in the 'Omani Tourism Strategy,' which also aims to position Muscat as a highly-preferred tourism destination and a city that is interlinked and integrated with other key destinations in the country by 2040.
Official figures showed that the total number of visitors from the GCC countries reached 1,4 million last year, while 436,000 came from India, which was a 21,8 per cent increase as compared to 2018.
During the same period, visitors from China reached 107,000. Statistics showed a 141 percent growth in the number of Chinese tourists who visited Oman last year, encouraging further the Sultanate to push its plan of opening a tourism representative office in China next year. The positive tourist flows in 2019 impacted Oman’s gross domestic product (GDP) and further strengthened the country’s status as a unique regional and international tourist destination.
Cruise ship tourism was a big contributor, with 283,000 passengers - a growth rate of 46.63 percent as compared to 2018 - arriving in the Sultanate in 2019.
Salem Adi Al Mamari, director general, Tourism Promotions Department, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said, "The excellent tourism figures we are seeing now can be attributed to the investments that the government has made in the local tourism sector; the promotion and adoption of global best practices in the hospitality industry and the development of more world class hotel establishments in the country. Through its charming and beautiful nature, hospitality, unique traditions, and rich cultural heritage, the country is able to promote both its natural resources and also sustainability. Over the years, intensified tourism campaigns have been launched to meet the government’s target of over 11 million tourists by 2040."