Of the 3.03mn inbound visitors to Oman last year, Indians topped the list, according to Sheikh Aimen al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports.
Hosni spoke on the role of airports in increasing inbound tourists at the Transport and Tourism seminar held at InterContinental Muscat on Wednesday.
Deliberating further, Hosni said, “Oman has a lot to offer to the world. Tourists do not know much about this country. Oman has unique places which will be of interest to international visitors.
“There is white sand in Duqm, 2,000m above sea level in the Al Hajar Mountains we have Alila Jebel Akhdar which is haven for adventure travellers, nature lovers and those seeking a retreat from the desert heat. Oman has everything to offer to tourists for all seasons. Our location in the Middle East is very strong.”
He said that efforts are on to connect air to the sea. “Cruise ship tourists come by the sea, tour the country and exit via the airport and vice versa. We are trying to add more airlines to our existing list.”
The total inbound tourists to Oman in 2018, excluding GCC countries, comprised 357,880 from India, followed by 134,702 from the UK, 90,731 from Pakistan, 64,599 from Germany, and 53,755 from the Philippines.
Others present in the seminar included Saleh al Shaibany, director, Industry Liaison and Career Guidance, Modern College of Business and Science (MCBS), Peter Walichnowski, CEO of Omran, Dr Khalfan al Asmi, dean, MCBS, Shahid Rasool, CEO of Ominvest, amongst others.
Hosni said that the aviation sector in Oman has evolved over the years. “We had our first airport, the Bait al Falaj Airport, in Ruwi. We grew over time and today we have the state-of-the-art Muscat International Airport.”
Peter Walichnowski spoke on the topic ‘The Development of Tourism Infrastructure and Network’ while Shahid Rasool deliberated on ‘Growing Oman’s Tourism Industry and Job Creation for Omanis’.
Shaibany said, “Oman Airports is the biggest employer now. Our expectations from this seminar are job creation for young Omanis in tourism, creation of small and medium enterprises for young Omanis and third to prepare young Omanis for the tourism sector.”
Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour bin Said al Hasani, Minister of Information, was the guest of honour at the event.
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