Oman’s Ministry of Tourism reveals a 43.6 per cent growth in cruise ship tourists from January to December 2019 to reach 283,488 passengers from 193,467 recorded during the same period last year. The Ministry attributed the surge to the government’s relevant initiatives, including infrastructural developments, and the ongoing and reinforced tourism campaigns that focus on Oman’s civilization, culture, heritage, diverse adventures, and popular attractions.
The Ministry said a total of 284 cruise ships, which will carry thousands of tourists from all over the world, are already scheduled to anchor at the Sultanate’s three main ports in season 2019-2020, namely Sultan Qaboos Port (162 cruise ships, Port of Khasab (75 cruise ships), and Port of Salalah (47 cruise ships). The highest arrivals are expected during the winter season that begins in October and ends in April. The Ministry has been collaborating with relevant government and private sector entities and ship owners and operators to enhance cruise tourism in Oman as well as help develop the capability and efficiency of local ports to handle giant cruise ships. Part of the Ministry’s initiatives is faster license and permit application processes and approvals.
Abdullah Saif Al Saadi, Head of cruise and charter flights, Ministry of Tourism, said, “We aim to attract international cruise ships as part of our overall travel and tourism campaigns. To achieve this, we have been improving our ports, implementing the best practices and international standards, and enhancing our facilities, to name a few. We are also planning to invest in the facilities of Sultan Qaboos Port to entice more cruise ships to make a stopover in Oman.”