Oman


Hoteliers in Muscat upbeat after successful Eid season


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Muscat: Hoteliers in Muscat and Salalah are in an upbeat mood as increased number of tourists during the Eid Al Fitr holidays are translating into more revenue.

"During the actual Eid days from July 29 to August 1, all our three hotels were fully booked.

During the Eid break, the resort was very busy, and on the Eid day, the resort was fully booked," an official from Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, said.

"Most of our in-house guests were Omanis, expatriates and guests from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The special rates offered and the extensive leisure and dining facilities at our hotels were the main attractions," the official added.

According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to Oman's GDP in 2013 was OMR982.8m (3.0 per cent of GDP).

Growth prospects
This is forecast to rise by 10.2 per cent to OMR1,082.7m in 2014. This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). But it also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

"We were delighted that so many guests chose to celebrate Eid Al Fitr with us at Millennium Resort Musannah and experience the ever-growing variety of relaxing and recreational activities that we offer for the whole family," Maurice De Rooij, general manager of the Millennium Resort Musannah, said.

"Feedback during the holidays was overwhelmingly positive. With a combination of attractive room rates and packages planned, we anticipate an equally busy Eid Al Adha holiday period in the coming months as guests head to the Al Batinah coastline to share short getaways and longer stays with us," Maurice added.

Meanwhile, hoteliers in Salalah are doing well as the cool climes are continuing to draw more tourists to the greenest location of the Sultanate.

"So far, we are seeing around 90 per cent occupancy. We are hopeful that it grows," Manuel Levonian, general manager of Crowne Plaza Resort in Salalah, told the Times of Oman.

"Most of our guests are from neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The climate is perfect and we are expecting more tourists in the coming days," Manuel added.

According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of visitors to Salalah during Khareef season has grown by 170 per cent, standing at 203,171 visitors from June 21, 2014 through August 6, 2014, compared to 75,262 visitors during the same period last year.

Omanis made up 70.4 per cent of the number of visitors, so far this year. According to the updated figures, 58,048 visitors flew to Salalah, with 51,235 on domestic flights and 6,813 on international flights, while the total number of visitors travelling to the Dhofar region by road stood at 145,123.

Popular Salalah
According to travel agents, this year, Salalah was the most sought after destination for both nationals and expatriates in Oman to spend their Eid Al Fitr holidays.

"For the Eid Al Fitr holidays, we had quite a good number of ticket bookings for Salalah. Lack of interest in foreign destinations due to lesser number of holidays and unavailability of tickets to these places is making travellers opt for Salalah," Renny Johnson, executive director, Mezoon Travels said citing ticket booking figures.

Last year, the travel agents had a good many bookings for Iran and other Middle East countries. But this time that trend was not so visible. The WTTC reports that Oman generated OMR710.5m in visitor exports and in 2014, this is expected to grow by 9.7 per cent and the country is expected to attract 1,660,000 international tourist arrivals.

"By 2024, international tourist arrivals are forecast to total 2,864,000, generating expenditure of OMR1,412.9m, an increase of 6.1 per cent per annum," the report added.

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