Oman is positioning itself as a year round destination for travellers complete with a long term objective to attract more than 11.7 million visitors by 2040.

With arrival figures reported as ‘encouraging’ by the Oman ministry of Tourism, the destination received 98,556 visitors from the UK and Ireland, up by 2% on the same period last year.

Mr. Marwan Al Ghassani, acting head of tourism promotion for the ministry, said: “We traditionally have two main seasons; from June to September we tend to see a focus on tourism for Arab people especially from Gulf countries, whilst our other main season is the winter season, running from October to April, and every year we have seen an increase in tourists from across Europe.”

Beginning with the opening of two Anantara properties last year and a Centara branded hotel earlier this year, the destination is also seeing something of a trend for luxury developments emerging in its city destinations. The end of this year will see the opening of the Crowne Plaze Muscat, the upscale Mysk by Shaza and business hotel Sundus Rotana Muscat, whilst at the start of 2018 will be the opening of the Kempinski Hotel in Al Mouj in Muscat as well as the five-star W Hotel, the first of three Starwood Hotels & Resorts planned to open in the city. There is also news that, due to demand, The Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa in Oman is set to relaunch as a standalone resort in 2018.

Salalah in southern Oman will also play an important role in helping the destination to achieve visitor targets, with more hotel and mall developments planned, as too will new attractions such as the opening of a new aquarium in the Palm Mall Muscat in 2018 and the continuing luxury development of Muscat Bay.

There is also the $1.3 billion Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project aimed at transforming Port Sultan Qaboos into a major tourism based mixed use waterfront destination. Plans include the introduction of a fisherman’s wharf, fish souq, a five-star marina hotel as well as a super yacht and leisure boat marina. Its completion will be achieved in phases, starting 2020.

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