Oman’s popularity as a holiday destination continues to soar, with latest figures indicating that more than 2 million tourists visited the Sultanate during the first 10 months of last year, it was announced this week, representing an increase of 302,221 when compared to the numbers from the same period in 2014.
According to statistics issued by the Ministry of Tourism, the number of licensed hotels in the Sultanate rose by 7.1 per cent to reach 318 in 2015, meaning that potential visitors to Oman now have the choice of more than 16,500 rooms when it comes to laying their head down at night.
And the investments are set to continue, aiming to boost these numbers even further. To the north, Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is planning to develop Port Khasab in Musandam Governorate into an upscale waterfront-based tourism and retail destination, with the hope of capitalising on the growing number of international cruise liners that dock at the port.
At the opposite end of the country, Muriya Tourism Development Company is ploughing ahead with projects intended to draw increasing numbers of tourists to Salalah. This week, Muriya completed the first phase of its flagship Souly Bay development, with the opening of the four-star, 218-room Al Fanar Hotel & Residences, making the company the largest contributor to the development of high-end hotels in Oman in the past five years.
Speaking at a celebration ceremony to mark the launch, Samih Sawiris, chairman of Muriya and Orascom Development Holding AG, said: “Today, we celebrate a huge step in turning into a reality what, for decades, has been a widely held belief in the potential for Salalah as a prime year-round destination.”
The second phase of the development will include a water theme park with a capacity for 1,500 daily visitors and is set for completion by the end of 2017.