According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Oman has seen a 15 percent increase in passenger arrivals to Muscat International Airport in the 12 months ending in June, 2011 as compared to 2010.
Travel Warnings Dampen Toursim
This is good news for Oman after a poor turnout of tourists in the first three months of 2011 due to international travel warnings to the area. The rebound in tourism brought about 2.23 million travelers to the Sultanate’s main airport during the course of the year.
As a result of the increase in tourism it is believed that Oman will take substantial steps to revive and improve business in the travel sector of the economy. Planning meetings for strategy and travel were held in mid-August among the heads of international offices of the Ministry of Tourism.
Tourism on the Rebound
Al Sheikh Abdulmalik Abdullah Al Khalili, the Minister of Tourism in Oman released a statement saying:
“Travel to Oman has rebounded strongly with most of Oman’s key tourism source markets recording remarkable year on year growth. The highest growth came from Italy (60 per cent), UAE (31 per cent), Germany (22 per cent), France (14 per cent) and The Netherlands (8 per cent).
“Our European trade partners are reporting solid forward bookings so we expect a strong end of year result for Oman’s tourism industry.”
Sultanate Planning for More Tourism
Analysis of the IATA data show detailed results which can help the Sultanate’s planning for future tourism. A comparison of June’s travel statistics in 2011 and 2010 shows that all tourism source-markets showed improvement except for tourism from the United Kingdom. This is believed to be due to austerity measures placed on Britons to discourage long international trips. However in Italy there was a 228 percent increase in tourism to Oman; the Netherlands showed a 52 percent increase; and from Belgium 33 percent more tourists came to Oman.
This data also highlights the positive impact of Oman Air’s services to our larger volume markets such as France, Germany and the UAE.
“Arrivals from France and Germany continue to increase since the start of non-stop services in late 2009. We expect similar positive outcome from Oman Air services to Zurich in October and Moscow in November,” added the Tourism Minister Sheikh Abdulmalik Abdullah Al Khalili.