Perched on the Arabian Peninsula, with 1700km of glistening coastline, Oman is an emerging tourist destination with alluring beaches, almost biblical landscapes and natural splendour. Aiming to double the number of international visitors to five million by 2020, the sultanate is highlighting efforts to attract holidaymakers such as hassle-free visa applications, potentially the world’s best airport and the longest zip-line in the world.
Oman is eager to boost visitor numbers but it’s doing so at a sustainable pace, tiptoeing into tourism with sensitive changes. A number of visitor incentives have been announced recently, including the country plans to build the world’s longest zip-line in Al Hamra. Speaking to Arabian Business, the Ministry of Tourism said the zip-line will be operated in Misfat Al Abriyeen, one of Oman’s most picturesque mountain villages, in a bid to enhance tourism in the area.
As the country prepares to welcome more visitors, it has made getting there easier than ever. It was recently announced that visa services could soon be available via the Royal Oman Police (ROP) app. Speaking to the Times of Oman, a police spokesperson said that they’re working on setting up an electronic visa on the app as a hassle-free service. Currently, visas (required for most nationalities) are available on arrival or online through the ROP website.
Expanding capacity at airports is key to increasing visitor numbers and this week Oman celebrates the official opening of Duqm Airport on 14 January. It’s the country’s fourth regional airport and will act as a gateway to the central region of the country. It has the capacity to service half a million travellers annually, with the ability to expand to two million travellers, according to Kuwait News Agency.
Meanwhile, Muscat International Airport is taking part in the 2019 Skytrax World’s Best Airport survey, sometimes referred to as the “the Oscars of the aviation industry”. The winner won’t be revealed until 27 March but the new state-of-the-art airport has already received global acclaim for its Omani-themed architecture, efficiency, hospitality and advanced technology. Just three weeks after commencing commercial services, it was named the Middle East’s ‘Leading New Tourism Development Project’ at the 2018 World Travel Awards.
Airports, zip-lines and visas aside, there are a plenty of reasons to visit Oman. Omanis are renowned for their hospitality and the sultanate’s political stability makes it ideal for holidaymakers looking for a break filled with an abundance of sunshine, heritage and traditional Arabian charms.
You can explore itineraries and discover the best times to visit with Lonely Planet’s guide to Oman.