The Sultanate of Oman is witnessing a sharp increase in tourists from the neighbouring GCC countries, especially during the months of June and July that coincide with the Khareef Season in South Oman.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of arrival of GCC nationals increased by 1,187.9 per cent, to 88,0479 at the end of July from 6,870 during the same period a year ago, followed by an increase in European tourists by 703.2 per cent to 193,644 from 24,109 a year ago.

The number of Omani guests dropped 7.1 per cent from 447,659 to 415,711. The number of American guests increased by 191.6 per cent to 30,210, while the number of African guests increased by 103.3 per cent to 4,682 guests. The number of Asian guests increased by 33.4 per cent to 83,736 from 111,703 last year.

The Khareef, Salalah Airport has experienced a great rush with 315,000 passengers traveling the airport.

Among airline companies frequenting the region, low-cost Wizz Air operates two weekly flights from Abu Dhabi to Salalah, Gulf Air operates two weekly flights from the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The revenues of 3 to 5-star hotels in the Sultanate of Oman grew by 117.6 per cent until the end of July 2022, while the occupancy rate of these hotels was 25.4 per cent.

The monthly bulletin for tourism issued by the pointed to an increase in the total number of guests of these hotels by 45.4 per cent, reaching 903,000 guests at the end of July last year, compared to the same period of 2021, with a total of 620,979 guests.

It may be noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had a serious impact on the tourism sector for two years as it was evident from the figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) in its annual bulletin.

The Minister of Heritage and Tourism (MoHT) recently told media persons that the pandemic badly hit the tourism sector and nearly 20,000 job opportunities were lost in the process. He said the sector's losses amount to nearly RO 1.3 billion during this period.

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