Muscat – Oman witnessed an impressive 47.3% increase in tourism income in 2022, growing to RO1.9bn from RO1.3bn in 2021.

Figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information highlight the sector’s direct added value, which stood at RO1.1bn, up 33% from 804.9mn in 2021. Additionally, tourism’s contribution to the GDP touched 2.4%.

Domestic tourism played a pivotal role in these figures. The Tourism Statistics Bulletin shows domestic tourism contributed a substantial 68%, accounting for RO1.3bn in 2022.

Visitor footfall provided another reason for optimism. In 2022, the sultanate welcomed 2.9mn visitors, a staggering 348% surge from the previous year’s 652,000. Most of these visitors hailed from the GCC countries, recording 1.6mn, followed by Asia and Europe with 651,000 and 360,000, respectively.

Breaking up the figures further into the purpose of these visits, leisure and recreation led the numbers with 43.5%. Visiting family and friends followed at 35.7%, while business-related travel accounted for 10.5%.

Visitors who stayed for just one day totalled 861,000, while 2.1mn opted for extended stay beyond a single night – collectively 15.6mn nights.

Tourists collectively spent approximately RO592.4mn in 2022.

While inbound tourism grew, there was also a spike in outbound tourism. The number jumped 166.2%; 5.2mn tourists from Oman travelled abroad in 2022, compared to 1.9mn in 2021.

Significantly, 67.3% or 3.5mn of these were Omani nationals, 64% of who chose to spend multiple nights at their chosen destination.

Total spend of outbound tourists also underwent a significant change – up 243.8% from RO281.1mn in 2021 to RO966.6mn in 2022.

This burgeoning outbound tourism led to a ballooning deficit in Oman’s tourism balance, which grew 566.6% in 2022 to RO374.2mn, primarily fuelled by the amplified outbound tourism expenditure. This is in contrast to a RO56.1mn deficit in 2021.

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