The highest growth was from Asia, at 9.1 percent, followed by Europe, at 8.5 percent. Statistics from the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) show that GCC is the largest source market for tourist arrivals in the sultanate. However, the rate at which tourists have been arriving from Asia and Europe outpaces that from the GCC. Tourist arrivals from GCC grew by 4.9 per cent in 2014 over 2013 with 849,456 visitors. In terms of percentage, GCC visitors form the largest group with 42.5 per cent of the total visitors, followed by Asians (23.7 per cent) and Europeans (20.2 per cent).
MoT said that apart from developing the 2015-40 tourism strategy, it has been planning and implementing several projects to boost tourism in the sultanate.
The ministry is keen to increase the number of hotels in the country to cater to the increased demand and welcomed the launch of 18 new hotels in 2014. With this, the total number of hotel rooms in the sultanate rose by 7.3 per cent to reach 15,424 rooms compared to 14,369 in 2013.
Consequently, the number of beds also increased by 6.6 per cent to reach 24,004 compared to 22,521 in 2013.