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75 per cent drop in tourists in 2020

26 Apr 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Fewer tourists are coming to Oman due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the loss in business is amply evident in the tourism sector, according to recently released statistics.

There was a 75.1 per cent drop in tourists to Oman compared to 2019, according to the latest statistics issued by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. 

The sultanate welcomed 3,506,441 tourists in 2019, which was 8.2 per cent more than the 2018 figure of 3,241,757 and 75.1 per cent less than the number that visited in 2020 – 874,444 tourists. 

The ministry confirmed that the reason for the decline is the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 around the world which affected this vital sector.

The ministry also confirmed that there were 193,467 cruise ship visitors in 2018, 383,488 in 2019 and 109,647 in 2020 – a decrease of 71.4 per cent compared to 2019.

‘Cruise ship tourism was a big contributor, with 383,488 passengers – an increase of 49.5 per cent over 2018 – arriving in the sultanate in 2019. Consistent increase had been noted since the ministry’s efforts to make local ports, including Sultan Qaboos Port, Khasab Port and Salalah Port, ideal and attractive options for cruise lines,’ ministry stated.

There were 366,360 visitors to castles and forts in 2018, and 426,525 in 2019 compared to 133,464 in 2020 – a decrease of 68.6 per cent. 

The ministry also informed that several forts and castles have been restored, while restoration works on buildings that are distinguished for their architectural diversity are currently underway.

Additionally, the ministry stated that the number of hotels grew to 547 in 2020, compared to 492 in 2019 and 412 in 2018.

Oman has various tourist attractions, particularly in the realm of cultural tourism. The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is currently working to establish numerous projects to attract tourists to achieve the strategic goals of Oman Vision 2040.


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