Muscat: With the entry ban on passengers from some countries still on, travel agencies in Oman have come up with unique packages to help desperate employers bring their staff back.
A 15-day travel package to Maldives is one such offer intended for those stranded back home — who had gone on leave or other family or medical emergencies before the flight ban was announced.
The package ensures that the passenger spends 14-day prior to reaching Oman in a country which is not on the travel ban list.
Anil Mathew from a travel agency affiliated to a business group in Muscat says that such offers are not cost-effective.
“We had a few corporate clients who wanted to bring their staff who were skilled in specific projects. As the market is slowly returning to normal and many projects are getting started, a lot of employers whose staff are stuck in various places in places like India, and Bangladesh want to bring them back. We had facilitated the travel of a few from India via other places like Armenia or Georgia where the passenger had to spend 14 days before proceeding to fly to Oman.
"After reaching Oman, they had to undergo seven days of institutional quarantine, as mandated by Oman’s health authorities. When the projects worth millions are put off because the concerned project manager is stuck in India or elsewhere, spending thousands for bringing him this way is justifiable.”
Anil said that for a common man drawing a salary below 1,000 Omani Riyals, who is stuck in India with his family this is not a viable option. “More so when the rules are changing at a very short notice. These are pre-booked holidays where payment is done in advance, as per the norms. What if the ban on travellers is lifted from the countries hitherto banned? The paid amount will have to be forgone even if the trip is cut short. There is no guarantee that the country which is not in the banned list maybe banned as well. Then you are stuck in a country which is new to you, besides other uncertainties.”