Muscat – Oman was among the top ten countries in the world for fastest growing destinations for international arrivals in 2022 as compared to 2019.
According to US-based Skift, a travel industry news and market research company, Oman witnessed a growth of 38% in international arrivals in 2022 over 2019, and ranked seventh in the world.
Skift’s State of Travel Report 2023 revealed that Austria (355%) topped the list of fastest growing destinations for international arrivals in 2022, followed by UAE (109%), Dominican Republic (71%), Andorra (47%), the Netherlands (43%), Qatar (42%) and Oman.
The other three in top ten include Albania (33%), Colombia (23%) and Serbia (14%).
The report stated that except for aviation, the performance of all sectors – hotels, vacation rentals and car rentals – have surpassed 2019 levels in the Middle East.
‘While international travel in most regions still lags 2019 levels, the Middle East is the only region to witness a complete recovery of international travel in the first quarter of 2023,’ Skift stated.
United Arab Emirates was the most visited in the region last year with 22.7mn tourist arrivals, surpassing 2019 levels, followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco.
Tourist arrivals to Oman, too, surpassed the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of 2.5m in 2019 to 2.9mn in 2022.
A report issued by international firm BMI, a Fitch Solutions Company, has indicated that recovery of the tourism sector in Oman in 2022 was stronger than expected and that the positive trend is expected to continue in the current year.
From January to May 2023, Oman reported 1,548,630 visitors, a surge of 95.1% compared to the same period last year.
According to BMI’s analysis, 3.5mn international tourists are expected to visit Oman in 2023, marking a 20.8% annual increase from 2022. Furthermore, the average annual tourist influx for the forecast period of 2023 to 2027 is expected to grow by 7.4%. This growth is attributed to both leisure and commercial tourism, boosted by high oil prices that stimulate domestic investments.
The report suggests that the Middle East will be the primary source of tourists for Oman in 2023, with 1.5mn visitors expected from the region. The Asia-Pacific region and Europe trail behind, anticipated to bring 606,390 and 320,600 tourists respectively. Meanwhile, Africa and America are predicted to contribute 72,000 and 72,800 visitors respectively.
BMI anticipates a consistent upward trajectory for Oman’s tourism sector until 2027 and beyond. This aligns with Oman’s economic diversification strategy and Oman Vision 2040’s directives.