The survey also shows that 51 per cent of the residents plan to increase or maintain their level of leisure travel, which is ten per cent higher than the 2011 findings when compared to the previous year.
Eighty-one per cent of the MasterCard survey participants also indicated that they are most likely to travel to the Asia-Pacific in the coming months, marking a 12 per cent increase. Other popular regional destinations include the Middle East and Africa (46 per cent), and Europe (seven per cent). “It is encouraging to see the increase in the amount of respondents planning to travel as compared to the 2011 survey. This is sure to be positive news for the country’s travel industry as it prepares for the upcoming travel season,” said Safdar Khan, market manager, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, MasterCard Worldwide.
However, over the last year, 52 per cent of the respondents travelled internationally for leisure, while 54 per cent travelled locally, marking a decrease of 13 per cent and four per cent as compared to 2010.
India and UAE continue to be the most preferred international destinations with 42 per cent of residents in Oman aiming to travel there in the coming months, followed by Malaysia and Thailand. Despite being a key market in 2011, Malaysia witnessed a drop of eight per cent in popularity this year.
In terms of domestic travel, Salalah remains the most popular destination, with 50 per cent of respondents from Oman voting for it, followed by Sur (15 per cent) and Nizwa (12 per cent).
Eleven per cent of the respondents travelled abroad on business trips, while 13 per cent travelled domestically, both decreasing by five per cent and nine per cent respectively, when compared to last year.
Residents of Oman are keen to find the best travel deals and indicated that travel agents (66 per cent) are the most popular outlet to find a bargain. Twenty-nine per cent scoured airline websites for bargains, while newspapers and social media attracted nine per cent of respondents each, and only five per cent voted for online travel guides.
Cash emerges as the most popular payment choice for travellers residing in Oman, specially for transportation (87 per cent), expenses under US$100 (RO38; 70 per cent) and accommodation (64 per cent). However, 20 per cent fewer respondents preferred to pay for accommodation with cash when compared to last year. Debit/ATM cards were popular for the purchase of products over US$100 (35 per cent), transportation (six per cent) and purchase of products under US$100 (20 per cent). Credit cards were the least preferred mode of payment.