Oman’s Tourism Ministry anticipates another bumper year in tourist traffic during 2010, driven by robust growth in arrivals from the Gulf States and many European markets.

According to Tourism Under-Secretary Mohammed bin Hamoud al Tobi, an uptrend in international travel continues to have a favourable impact on visitor numbers arriving in the Sultanate.

“2010 has started well,” said Al Tobi. “Demand for global travel has increased over the first half of the year and we see these positive trends increasing to the last quarter of 2010. Visitor arrivals numbers are up and most of our key source markets are performing well.

“Domestic and GCC regional tourism is growing strongly, especially for short-break holidays from GCC destinations. However some segments like meetings and conventions activity are recovering slowly,” the under-secretary added in remarks to the Observer.

Citing statistics compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Al Tobi noted that tourist arrivals from the Gulf States have grown significantly during the year ending June 2010, over the previous year.

Visitor numbers from Saudi Arabia have jumped 30 per cent, while arrivals have also been on the rise from Qatar (22 per cent) and the United Arab Emirates (10 per cent).

While trends out of Europe, a key source market for Oman’s tourism industry, have been mixed, arrivals from destinations served by national carrier Oman Air are strongly on the increase, the under-secretary said.

“Arrivals from Europe and Nordic countries remain variable and mirror the economic fortunes of the each country, but overall numbers are well up on 2009. Oman Air’s entry into Germany and France in October 2009 has triggered record arrivals from Germany (113 per cent) and France (73 per cent).

“Additionally, Italy (12 per cent) and Switzerland (2 per cent) show growth, but travel from the United Kingdom (-18 per cent), The Netherlands (-2 per cent) and Belgium (-13 per cent) are down, as they are for other destinations.”
Source: Oman Daily Observer