Oman is expecting a double-digit growth in the number of tourist arrivals from India, its second-highest source market, in 2019 as it hard-sells the country as preferred destination here.
The Sultanate of Oman recorded a 12.37 per cent growth in Indian tourist arrivals in 2018 with 3,57,147 travellers, against 3,17,844 in 2017, making India the second-highest source market for the country, Oman's Ministry of Tourism said in a statement.
"Our plans are to achieve double-digit growth in the number of Indian tourist arrivals during the year 2019," Lubaina Sheerazi, India representative of Oman's Ministry of Tourism, said.
India has been an important market for Oman and it has been one of the best-performing countries, reaching the status of second-highest source market after the Gulf Cooperation Council, she added.
About the initiatives the country has taken and is taking to promote itself as a preferred destination here, Sheerazi said: "Several initiatives have contributed to this success, such as launch of the electronic visa, direct flight connectivity from various cities in India and opening of the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport, among others."
With growing number of travellers each year, the Oman Tourism Strategy, developed by the Ministry of Tourism, foresees at least 11.7 million international and domestic tourists by 2040, she added.
"As part of its 2040 strategy, the Ministry of Tourism is undertaking major steps to develop and promote a series of destinations across Oman, offering visitors a broader variety of distinctive experiences, with the goal of encouraging extended visits and greater engagement with the country's culture and natural sites," Sheerazi said.
The significant increase in incoming tourism has been the result of the economic diversification strategy adopted by the government of Oman, she added.
The Ministry of Tourism is fully committed to enhancing the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) component and to help Oman achieve its potential to be a first-class destination for the business tourism segment, Sheerazi said.