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Oman's tourism sector now worth more than OMR1.2bn.

by ONAIn recent years, Oman has laid particular emphasis on the development and promotion of the tourism sector considering its importance as a contributor to the national economy. -File photo

Muscat: The turnover from Oman's tourism sector in 2017 stood at OMR1.25 billion, according to a special bulletin prepared by National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) on World Tourism Day (September 27). Of this OMR342.3 million, or 27.4 per cent, was from inbound tourists, while the remaining OMR909.1 million, or 72.6 per cent, was derived from domestic tourism. This figure included receipts from the national carrier, Oman Air, and travel agencies -- regardless of the final destination. Total direct value added reached OMR728.3 million in 2017, which was a 1.9 per cent increase over OMR714.9 million in 2016. The year 2015 witnessed a significant increase in direct value added from OMR689.5 million in 2014 to OMR732.2 million in 2015. This increase is due to the increase in value added of some activities, as restaurants activity. The number of visitors nearly doubled during 2013 to 2017. The percentage of visitors per day rose 1.6 per cent to 885,810 visitors in 2017 compared to 2016. Total inbound tourism expenditure reached OMR342.3 million in 2017, a 6.1 per cent increase over OMR322.5 million in 2016, with the average expenditure per visitor reaching OMR105.1. This is a significant increase of 4.5 per cent compared to 2016 when the total expenditure per visitor totaled OMR100.6.

Accommodation services accounted for 34.0 per cent of inbound tourism expenditure, followed by air transport services at 27.5 per cent, food and beverages services at 15.1 per cent, and shopping at 11.4 per cent. The total number of outbound tourism rose by 48.1 per cent between 2013 and 2017, totaling 6.4 million. Total outbound tourism expenditure reached OMR462.7 million in 2017, which was a 5.6 per cent decrease over OMR490.3 million in 2016. In 2017, the total number of hotels reached 359, which consisted of 17 five-star hotels, 24 four-star hotels, 26 three-star hotels, 49 two-star hotels and 243 units classified as others, which includes one-star hotels, unclassified hotels, guesthouses and hotel apartments. Since 2013, the number of five-star hotels has actually increased from 12 to 17, while the number of four-star hotels grew from 22 to 24, while the number of three-star hotels dropped from 28 to 26 and the number of two-star hotels dropped from 52 to 49, while other accommodations increased from 152 to 243. The total revenue generated from Hotel activity reached OMR236.0 million, with a growth of 2.5 per cent in 2017. In recent years, hotel occupancy rates in the Muscat Governorate have also slightly lower from 61.0 per cent in 2013 to 55.3 per cent in 2017. The total number of visitors during the Salalah Tourism season reached 645 thousand in 2017, a decrease of 1.2 per cent compared to the number of visitors in 2016, which reached 653 thousand visitors. However, there was a 26.8 per cent jump in total visitors between 2015 and 2016 from 515 thousand to 653 thousand. Of the total visitors in 2017, 71.1 per cent of visitors were Omani, followed by 8.9 per cent from the UAE. The number of visitors from the GCC increased by only 2.9 per cent in 2017 compared to the high growth recorded in 2016 of 40.4 per cent. The number of visitors from Kuwait decreased by 15.1 per cent in 2017 while visitors from Saudi Arabia increased by 23.9 per cent. The total expenditure for visitors during the Salalah Tourism season was OMR66.3 million in 2017, an increase of 1.0 per cent compared to OMR65.7 million in 2016. The total number of nights spent in Salalah during Salalah Tourism season was 4.35 million nights in 2017, a decrease of 1.1 per cent, compared to 4.40 million nights in 2016. Omanis accounted for 78.0 per cent, followed by UAE nationals at 9.1 per cent and Saudis at 3.9 per cent during the Season. In recent years, the Sultanate of Oman has laid particular emphasis on the development and promotion of the tourism sector considering its importance as a promising sector and an important contributor to the national economy. The country aims to increase the contribution of tourism sector to GDP by actively seeking to attract more inbound tourists and reaching more markets that are diverse. Given the current geopolitical climate, Oman can not only market itself as a safe and tranquil destination but also compete with other GCC states seeking to boost their own share of tourism revenues.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Sep 26, 2018
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