NFC ties up with UK-based portal for service bookings

Muscat - 

The National Ferries Company (NFC) has joined forces with the UK-based Direct Ferries portal to make ferry travel in Oman accessible to travellers around the world. Direct Ferries (www.directferries.co.uk) provides bookings for ferry crossings in over 211 countries and islands.

Direct Ferries is the first European agent to work with NFC which offers high speed services. Even before travellers set foot in Oman, they can now book their trips to a host of destinations that are part of the NFC network.

Matt Davies, chief executive, Direct Ferries said, “This is an important development in the Middle East for us. Oman is an exciting destination, growing in popularity with UK tourists and we are delighted to be working with NFC, offering a high quality, ferry experience and an alternative way to discover this beautiful country.”

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Direct Ferries has experienced over 15 years of continued growth with revenues in excess of £100mn and is now present in 29 markets worldwide.

Due to its increased presence in the Middle East, the Direct Ferries website is now available in Arabic. It has access to 170 ferry companies (and the Eurotunnel), 2,197 routes and around 622 ports in over 211 countries and islands. Mehdi al Abduwani, CEO, NFC said, “We are very pleased to welcome Direct Ferries to our distribution network of agents. We are confident of growing in the UK and European markets for Oman’s inbound travel with Direct Ferries presence.”

Direct Ferries stated, “The high speed ferry company offers travellers to Oman a completely different way to discover this beautiful country. The longest crossing from Khasab in the north of the country to the capital Muscat is six hours and the service operates once a week, while the more frequent and much shorter Shannah to Masirah service which takes just one hour operates round trips daily.” Other crossings are both ways from Shinas to Dibba, Dibba to Khasab, Dibba to Lima, Khasab to Shinas and Lima to Shinas.

A lot of people travelling to Muscat and specially to Masirah have faced problems with no online booking options available for NFC. Travel agents from Zahara Tours and Bahwan Travel Agencies said that it was indeed a positive step for inbound tourism. “Although there are not many enquiries we get for bookings in Oman, but having an online presence and tying up with an international company of repute will definitely help in boosting ferry business in the sultanate,” said an official at Zahara Tours.

NFC registered a rise in passengers to 51,824 during the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 23.14 per cent, compared to 42,083 in the same period of 2015.

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