There was a missive growth in the tourism sector of the Sultanate during last five years which helped it achieve positive indicators. There was an increase in the number of hotel establishments as well as their incomes leading to reduction in average rate of rooms. This made investments more attractive in the Sultanate. Due to this, the number of tourists coming to the Sultanate has also gone up.
The income of hotel establishments has increased from RO 190 million in 2013 to RO 260 million in 2019. This is due to the increase in the investments in the hotel establishment of the Sultanate, which has resulted in the increase in number of hotel rooms from 13,603 in 2013 to 25,408 in 2019. The increase in the number of hotel rooms was a natural result of increase in the hotel establishments from 266 in 2013 to 492 in 2019.
The statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) indicate that the total revenue of 3 to 5 start hotels during 2019 reached around RO 230 million, whereas the number of the guests of these hotels reached 1.8 million. The statistics also showed that the total number of tourists who arrived through cruise ships until the end of December last year were 283,000. Most of them were Germans as their number was 111,000, followed by British who were 27,023 visitors.
The number of the tourists coming from the Gulf countries during 2019 reached 1.4 million. They are followed by Indians who were 437,000, then were Germans who were 176,000, British 157,000, then were Yemenis with 120,000.
There are projections that there would be significant growth in the tourism sector of the Sultanate this year. It is expected that the number of rooms in various hotel establishments would increase to meet the requirements of the growing number of tourists coming to the Sultanate, and there would be rise in the tourism activity through 96 hotel establishments of various classifications expected to open in 2020-2021. There was an increase by 7.5 per cent in the number of guests at hotels from 3,300 in 2017 to 5,600 in 2018.
This shows success of the promotional efforts of the domestic tourism. The flow of foreign tourists also indicate capabilities of the services given by the hotels of the Sultanate.
The total number of tourists who visited the Sultanate during Salalah tourism season reached 766,772 during 2019. There were 45,914 tourists visited Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve the same year.
Similarly, 84,539 tourists visited Jabal Akhdhar till June 2019. The total number of visitors of the water pools of Wadi Bani Khalid reached 220,320 till the end of 2019. It was a significant 18 per cent increase over 187,107 of 2018.
A total 55,320 tourists visited Hoota cave, 2,221 visited Al-Ansab lakes and 785 visited Al Qurum Natural Reserve during 2019. There was an increase of 36 per cent in the number of visitors of Natural and Biodiversity Reserve of Al Wusta from 475 in 2018 to 648 in 2019. The total number of the visitors of Al Daymaniyat islands increased by 13 per cent from 27,690 of 2018 to 31,424 in 2019.
The added value of the tourism sector increased by 6.8 per cent to reach RO 789 million at the end of 2018, compared to about RO 738 million in 2017. The contribution of the tourism sector in the gross domestic product (GDP) reached 2.6 per cent.