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2.9mn visitors till Oct this year; target of 2.5mn by end of 2023

28 Dec 2023 2.9mn visitors till Oct this year; target of 2.5mn by end of 2023 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is close to achieving the goals set in Oman Vision 2040. While the target is to reach 33,000 hotel rooms by the end of 2025, the ministry’s statistics indicate that the number stood at 32,371 at the end of September 2023.

The target for the number of tourists was set at 2.5mn by the end of 2023, but Oman had received a total of 2.9mn visitors by the end October.

The target percentage of the tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) at constant prices for the year 2025, set at 2.75%, was almost accomplished in 2022, when GDP at constant prices for that year stood at about 2.4%.

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) has embarked on using statistical figures in a systematic manner to produce indicators that both support tourism decision-making and realise the sector’s goals set in Oman Vision 2040.

Amira Ali al Mahrouqiyya, Director of Information and Statistics Department in MHT, informed that the ministry is cooperating with the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the Ministry of Labour, and Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran Group) to prepare and analyse statistical reports in order to raise the performance of the tourism sector.

MHT conducts comprehensive evaluation of the plans and programmes related to the goals of Oman Vision 2040 on a quarterly basis and compares these with the achieved statistical indicators that help in implementing tourism plans and initiatives.

According to Amira, an ongoing arrivals and departures survey is a significant project aimed at analysing the tourism sector in the sultanate, as it also provides important information for decision makers. The survey contributes to providing data on the number of tourists, and also their economic, demographic and social data.

She added that MHT aims to establish investment projects worth RO3bn by the year 2025 and that the ministry will evaluate these tourism projects on an annual basis.

MHT is currently opening investment opportunities for local companies and institutions to manage and operate 15 historical landmarks (castles, forts and harat) to support cultural heritage and increase national income.

On his part, Khamis Humaid bin Hamad al Qasimi, Head of the Tourism Statistics Department and Supervisor of the arrivals and departures survey at the National Centre for Statistics and Information, said, “The survey focuses on collecting information from visitors at Muscat International Airport, Salalah Airport and six land ports – Khatmat Malaha, Al Wajajah, Al Khatm, Hamasa, Hafeet and Al Dara crossing. Over the course of 232 days, data will be acquired through direct interviews with tourists.”

He added, “Scheduled to run from December 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024, the survey is a strategic move to gather reliable data to facilitate decision-making and to support the economic diversification outlined in Oman Vision 2040.”

Meanwhile, MHT is implementing targeted strategies to boost tourism activities within the sultanate. The aim is to augment the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP from a modest 2.4% in 2021 to an ambitious 5% by 2030, ultimately aiming for 10% by 2040.

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