Muscat – The Sultanate of Oman, with its picturesque landscapes and cultural treasures, has long been a magnet for travellers worldwide.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the tourism and hospitality sectors, including the car rental industry in Oman.
But things are changing for better, if the inputs from the people involved in the sector are anything to go by.
Ajay Krishnan, sales lead at NAB Rent A Car Oman, expressed optimism about the industry’s recovery, stating, “Business post-COVID has been picking up gradually. Our overall sales have increased since global tourism has started picking up.”
While not yet at pre-pandemic levels, Krishnan anticipates a rebound in the upcoming season.
When asked about the best season for car rental business, Krishnan pointed to Oman’s tourist season, which began this month and will continue till March as the weather remains pleasant. “People have already started arriving from the UK, Russia, Europe, India and the GCC countries.”
Gaurav Kumar, retail sales executive at Autorent, talked about how the car rental business has grown after the pandemic subsided. “The business has shown 21% growth in sales volume post-COVID. Market shift has been observed from long term rentals to mid-term and short-term rentals leading to a higher number of transactions. The product buying and maintenance cost has increased by 10-15%, however the rental rates have remained the same, leading to a decline in the operating margins.”
Despite challenges like rising costs, Kumar emphasised the positive impact of improved tourist inflow during khareef and tourist seasons resulting in more business opportunities.
Kumar highlighted the prime seasons for the car rental business, distinguishing them as tourist season from October to March, Eid holidays, and khareef season running from June to August.
The rental industry in Oman is witnessing a steady recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. While challenges persist, including the need to adapt to changing market dynamics and increased costs, the industry is showing resilience.
As international travel continues to rebound, Oman remains a sought-after destination, and the rental business is poised to play a vital role in facilitating tourists’ exploration.
(Contributed by Deeba Parween)