Oman’s tourism sector highly affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Oman Sunday 23/May/2021 11:58 AM
By: Times News Service
Oman’s tourism sector highly affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Muscat: The tourism sector in Oman has witnessed a decrease in revenues by more than 60 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The issue was discussed in the  second annual session of the  Shura Council hosting the Minister of Heritage and Tourism.

HE Salim Al Mahrouqi, the Minister of Heritage and Tourism said in a statement: “The tourism sector has witnessed a steady growth in its indicators over the past years, bringing the sector’s total production to OMR 1.2 billion by the end of 2019, with a direct added value of OMR 718 million, compared to OMR 700 million in 2018, to form 2 per cent of the total gross domestic product. The number of incoming visitors increased, reaching 30 million visitors in 2019."

"However, the performance of the sector as you know was affected by the exceptional case of the Covid-19 pandemic since the first quarter of 2020, which led to a decrease of 75 per cent, bringing the number to 30,000 visitors, and a decrease in the number of hotel guests by 52 per cent. This was inevitably reflected in its revenues, with a decrease of 63 per cent compared to 2019," HE added.

He explained: "To face these repercussions and through direct coordination with the relevant authorities, the Ministry developed a comprehensive plan for recovery consistent with several models of pandemic developments and their possible gradual decline, by gradually activating the tourism sector, beginning with local tourism and then regional and international by launching campaigns and promotional programs accompanying each of the stages according to the target groups, as well as focusing on proposing a package of projects and initiatives to stimulate local tourism in coordination with the governorates and other sector partners."

"The ministry aims to attract total investments worth OMR 2 billion during the next three years within the program of attracting investments and developing exports, which emanates from the priorities of Oman's Vision 2040. The approved timetables, as well as the implementation of a number of possible investment initiatives related to facilitating procedures, governance, developing legislation governing the sector, and a number of other enablers."

 It is hoped that these measures will significantly contribute to the recovery of the sector during the next three years, increase its annual production, boost the labour market with new jobs and return to the targeted indicators.