Winter beckons tourists

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– With the onset of winter season, tourists from across the world are arriving in the Sultanate to enjoy the beauty of its mountains, plains, vast deserts and beaches. Saleh bin Ali al Khaifi, Director of Tourism Promotion and Marketing at the Ministry of Tourism, said the ministry is rolling out promotional campaigns to attract more tourists and boost revenue. Al Khaifi said that by the end of 2018, the number of hotels in the Sultanate has reached 412 with 22,182 rooms. They are trying to provide high quality services to the visitors. Al Khaifi pointed out that the efforts and preparations for this tourist season were not just limited to hotels. International events and exhibitions by the Ministry of Tourism highlight integrated tourism packages which include adventure tourism, camping and diving.

All Weather Destination
The Ministry of Tourism was promoting the Sultanate as a major tourist destination for all seasons. This is because of the diversity of its weather from one governorate to the other. This diversity in weather minimises the impact of decline in the number of tourists during the summer season.
Al Khaifi said that the ministry promoted the Sultanate in many international forums and events. The ministry has nine tourism representative offices to cover 15 regional and world markets in Europe, Asia and GCC. This is in addition to the Sultanate’s participation in international fairs and workshops where it organises meetings between Omani tourism companies with their international counterparts. It also makes attractive offers to encourage tourists to choose the Sultanate as their destination. The ministry also organises introductory tours for decision makers of the international tourism companies and hosts social media influencers as well as media persons so that they can share their stories about Oman and encourage tourists to visit the Sultanate.

Digital Push
Al Khaifi also pointed out that keeping pace with the practices and trends in various countries of the world, the ministry uses digital means to promote tourism along with traditional methods. Since 2016, the ministry has a website for tourism promotion. It is an independent website, separate from the ministry’s website. The promotional website is available in various languages including English, German, French and Russian.
He pointed out that the ministry is currently working on a promotional campaign during the winter season targeting the local community comprised of citizens and residents as well as tourists from the Gulf countries. The ambit of the campaign would be expanded to include other tourist markets such as India and Europe.
Al Khaifi said the campaign to promote tourism for the winter season will be carried out through online advertisements. It is designed to take into account the needs of all categories of tourists. It will also publish materials particularly on “Experience Oman” social media account, featuring Oman’s nature, heritage and crafts.
Yousuf bin Mahmoud al Rahbi, General Manager of Human Resources at InterContinental Hotels Group, said: “The tourism sector in the Sultanate is seeing considerable growth and increased tourist movement in the winter season. During the season, the rate of occupancy reaches 80 per cent to 90 per cent. He said that the winter season offers opportunity for tourists to visit all parts of Oman because of the moderate weather.”
Nawfal bin Hassan al Balushi of Ramada Hotel, Shatti Al Qurm, said that in the winter tourist movement increases due to moderate weather. Similarly, the occupancy rate of the hotel rises to 70 per cent. He said the preparations for the winter tourist season started early as it is expected to receive many tourists this year.
On the contribution of tourism companies in the success of the winter season, Badr al Yazidi, owner and Chief Executive Officer of Panorama company, said: “The companies have been developing plans and programmes to provide services to tourists long before the start of the season. Tourism companies are working to provide high quality services to tourists to satisfy their tastes and different age groups. These companies are also organising trips to introduce tourists to the most prominent attractions in the Sultanate.”

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