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Mandatory hotel stay a shot in the arm for hospitality sector

15 Feb 2021 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

As travellers reaching Oman are now required to book hotels for COVID-19 precautionary isolation – which came into effect from Monday – travel and hotel industry workers say the move will boost their industries.

Operating airlines in Oman are committed to ensuring that there are pre-confirmed hotel reservations for all arrivals on their flights covering the mandatory quarantine for a period of at least seven nights.

Faiyaz Khan, general manager, Travel Point Oman, said, “The new rule of institutional quarantine for people flying into the country has boosted the hotel and travel industries during this time.” However, Khan said the move can be a drawback if passengers find it expensive to travel.

“Passengers might postpone their trips till the procedures for institutional quarantine is lifted,” he said, adding that the decision taken by the Supreme Committee to come up with such measures during a pandemic considering the safety of the country should be respected.

Several hotels have started offering special packages for institutional isolation, which generally include three-time meals and airport pick-ups.

Yusra Kriya, sales manager at three-star Ibis Hotel, said there has been an increase in bookings since Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued a circular to all airlines operating in the sultanate. 

“We have seen around 30 per cent increase in hotel bookings. The move has given a boost to hotel industry. And because the stay is at least seven days, our guests get special rates of RO22 per day with full-board facilities,” she said.

Passengers now have to pre-book hotels of their choice or choose the hotels listed by authorities for institutional quarantine – at their own expense.

Chris Meehallage, sales manager at four-star Secure Inn Hotel  in Azaiba, said, “We have seen an increase of 15 per cent in hotel reservations since the announcement. We expect more bookings. Our offer is RO22 per person, and for a couple it will be RO32.”

The decision to impose institutional isolation for travellers came due to the lack of compliance regarding home quarantine, and in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.

A hotel industry expert said the move has created a pickup in occupancies for lower-range hotels. 

“Hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during this pandemic. For five-star hotels, the demand is yet to pick up. But definitely one- and two-star hotels will have some business owing to low costs,” said the expert who did not want to be named.

To end their quarantine period travellers need to get negative results of a PCR test done on the eighth day.

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