Cairo: Tourism ministers of Saudi Arabia and Oman have launched joint initiatives aimed at attracting tourists to both countries and discuss launching a joint tourist visa.
Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmad Al Khatib held talks in Muscat with his Omani counter-part Salem Al Mahrooqi on promoting tourism in both countries.
The Saudi-Oman projects aim to draw foreign tourists, citizens of both countries and residents in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries through the launch of a unified tourist visa, seasonal flights and a joint tourism calendar, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.
Another joint initiative focuses on boosting investment cooperation, mainly in tourism, supporting entrepreneurs in the sector and training tourism human resources under a strategy approved by the GCC leaders last December.
Al Mahrooqi said Oman and Saudi Arabia are major tourist destinations in the region, citing their natural and cultural diversity, the Omani news agency ONA reported.
Nearly 164,000 tourists from Oman visited Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of this year, up 136 per cent against the same period last year, spending around SR310 million, an increase of 71 per cent, said SPA.
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Meanwhile, nearly 49,000 tourists from Saudi Arabia visited Oman in the first quarter of 2023, up 92 per cent against the corresponding period of last year, with an increase of 117 per cent in spending.
Saudi Arabia and Oman are two members of the six-nation GCC that also comprises the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.
In July 2021, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman made the first visit by an Omani leader to the kingdom in over a decade. During the visit, the two countries signed a pact, establishing a joint council to coordinate stances in all fields.
The visit marked Sultan Haitham’s first foreign trip since he assumed power in January 2020.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Oman in December 2021.