Dubai: Oman has opened its doors to tourists from over 103 countries by offering visa-free entry for up to 14 days, local media reported.
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.
Additionally, some Indian tourists can also obtain a visa on arrival, provided they have an entry visa of the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Schengen countries, Japan, or have a resident permit of one of the GCC countries, and work in a profession approved by the Oman government.
An ROP official clarified that tourists from the 103 countries have the option to extend their visa-free stay for more than 14 days, with a fee applicable for the extension. Additionally, following the specified period, travellers from these countries must apply online for an e-visa for a fee of OMR 20 for a period of one month. They can also apply for a multi-entry visa for one year, provided that their stay on each visit is not more than a month, and that certain conditions are met.
This decision was made to support the tourism industry in Oman, and according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the Sultanate of Oman saw a massive 348 per cent increase in tourists in 2022 compared to 2021, with 2.9 million tourists arriving in Oman in 2022.
A top official at Omran Group, Mohammed Al Ghufaili, said that the growth can be attributed to integrated steps, some of which include free entry visas to more than 100 countries.
The surge in tourist arrivals has also positively impacted the revenue of 3–5-star hotels, which recorded a rise of 50.8 per cent at the end of January 2023 compared to the corresponding period in 2022, standing at OMR20.79 million.
The occupancy rate has also increased by 31.3 per cent, reaching 53.7 per cent compared to 40.9 per cent during the same period in 2022, while the number of 3–5-star hotels’ guests stood at 173,313, an increase by 65 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.
Furthermore, Oman has also seen an increase in domestic tourism, with an increase in festive events across the governorates co-hosted by Omran and the governorate offices.
Al Ghufaili added that Oman is a world-class tourist destination and that the travel market is bouncing back post-Covid, with people all over the world looking for new experiential travel destinations.