Dubai: As per local media reports, Oman has commenced welcoming tourists from more than 103 countries by granting visa-free entry for a period of up to 14 days.
According to the Royal Oman Police (ROP), tourists from Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Georgia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Belgium, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Cyprus, Ukraine, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Ireland, United Kingdom, Poland, Slovakia, France, Netherlands, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, China, the United States of America, Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Iran, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Canada, Malaysia, and Singapore are allowed visa-free entry.
Moreover, Indian tourists who possess a valid entry visa from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Schengen countries, Japan, or a resident permit from one of the GCC countries and are employed in an occupation sanctioned by the Omani government can also obtain a visa on arrival.
An official from the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has explained that visitors from 103 nations have the opportunity to prolong their visa-free stay beyond 14 days, subject to a fee for the extension. In addition, once this duration has elapsed, travelers from these countries must apply for an e-visa online, which costs OMR 20 and is valid for one month.
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They may also request a multi-entry visa for one year, provided they do not stay for more than a month on each visit and satisfy certain prerequisites. This measure was implemented to promote the tourism sector in Oman, which experienced a significant surge of 348 percent in tourists in 2022 compared to 2021, with 2.9 million visitors arriving in Oman in 2022, as reported by the National Centre for Statistics and Information.
According to Mohammed Al Ghufaili, a prominent figure at Omran Group, the boost in tourism can be attributed to various integrated measures, including the provision of free entry visas to over 100 countries.
As a result, the number of tourists has significantly impacted the revenue of 3-5 star hotels, with an increase of 50.8 percent in January 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, amounting to OMR20.79 million.
Additionally, the occupancy rate has risen by 31.3 percent, reaching 53.7 percent compared to 40.9 percent in January 2022. Moreover, the number of guests in 3-5 star hotels has surged to 173,313, reflecting a 65 percent increase from last year.
Oman has also observed an upswing in domestic tourism, with Omran and governorate offices co-hosting celebratory events across the governorates. Al Ghufaili emphasized that Oman is a first-rate tourist destination, and the travel industry is gradually recovering post-Covid, with a growing interest in novel and experiential travel destinations from people around the world.