Muscat – The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) has unveiled an ambitious plan to increase the number of tourists to 11mn by the year 2040, marking a significant stride towards Oman Vision 2040. The strategy includes tapping into the Russian market alongside other key source markets, notably India and China.

H E Azzan bin Qassim al Busaidi, Undersecretary for Tourism in MHT, outlined details of the plan in an interview with the Russian news agency Sputnik.

“The tourism and heritage sector are a cornerstone to Oman Vision 2040 with concerted efforts to propel substantial investments in the coming years across varied domains,” he stated.

H E Busaidi emphasised Oman’s focus on the Russian demographic, in addition to European, Indian, Chinese and regional markets, to bolster tourist arrivals. “Oman’s rich tapestry of attractions, ranging from pristine beaches to historical and cultural landmarks, are a major draw for Russian tourists, among others,” he said.

Reflecting on recent achievements, H E Busaidi noted a staggering 100% surge in Russian tourist visits – to over 100,000 – in 2022. He attributed this uptick to the tourism sector’s resilience and swift recovery post-COVID-19, evidenced by an uptrend in visitor count, hotel revenue and occupancy rates.

“The sector is set not only to recover but to thrive, providing increased employment and investment prospects. We are poised to capitalise on these opportunities,” he added.

To realise these objectives, MHT is implementing targeted strategies to boost tourism activities within the sultanate. The aim is to augment the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP from a modest 2.4% in 2021 to an ambitious 5% by 2030, ultimately aiming for 10% by 2040.

The sultanate is actively engaging with Russian tourists through promotional campaigns and forming alliances with Russian travel firms. In parallel, it is streamlining travel for Russian citizens by offering them a 30-day visa-free entry, a move that underscores Oman’s commitment to facilitating and fostering international tourism growth.

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