Muscat: A total of 3.5 million visitors arrived in the Sultanate as of December 2019, an increase of 8.2 percent compared to 2018, said the Ministry of Tourism on Monday.
The number of projects expected to be opened is 96 during the current financial 2020 – 2021, it said.
The preliminary approvals have been issued for 71 hotels – three five-star hotels, including two in the Muscat and one in the Dhofar Governorate, seven four-star hotels – four in Muscat Governorate, two in Al Batinah South and one in Al Dakhiliya Governorate.
The number of hotel establishments by the end of 2019 was 492, compared to 412 in 2018, an increase of 19.4 percent, and the number of hotel rooms by the end of 2019 increased to 25,408 rooms compared to 22.182 rooms in 2018, an increase of 14.5 percent.
The number of cruise ship visitors to Port Sultan Qaboos, Salalah Port, and the Khasab Port was 283,000 in 2019, an increase of 8.14 percent compared to the same period in 2018.
The Muscat Governorate had the highest number of hotel establishments (37 percent) followed by the South Sharqiyah (13 percent), while Al Dhahirah and Musandam had the lowest (2 percent).
As for rooms and hotel apartments, the Muscat Governorate had (54.7 percent), followed by Dhofar (14.4 percent), while Dhahirah had the lowest (0.4 percent).
The number of breaks, camps, green, and guest houses also increased in 2019.
The Ministry of Tourism said an increase in the number of visitors to Wadi Bani Khalid in 2019 to 220,320 visitors, by 17.8 percent to 187.107 visitors in 2018.
Of these foreign visitors constituted 66.73% compared to 29.72 percent Omanis, and 3.29 percent other Arab visitors.
As other GCC visitors were only o.26 percent, the ministry said there is a need for promotion of this site through social media.