In 2019, Oman reported a substantial 43.6 per cent increase in cruise ship tourists reaching 283,488 passengers, an improvement from the 193,467 passengers registered in 2018 during the same period.
According to data released by Oman‘s Ministry of Tourism, the surge is due to relevant government programmes, including infrastructural improvements, and ongoing and enhanced tourism campaigns focusing on Oman‘s history, culture, heritage, diverse adventures and famous attractions.
The Ministry said a total of 284 cruise ships, which will carry thousands of tourists from all over the world, are already scheduled to anchor at the sultanate’s three main ports in season 2019/2020, namely Sultan Qaboos Port (162 cruise ships); Port of Khasab (75 cruise ships); and Port of Salalah (47 cruise ships). During the winter season, which commences in October and ends in April, the highest arrivals are expected.
The Ministry has been working with related government and private sector organisations and ship owners and operators to boost cruise tourism in Oman as well as helping to develop local ports ‘ ability and efficiency to accommodate giant cruise ships. Part of the Ministry’s initiatives is faster licencing, and allowing processes and approvals for applications.
The Ministry of Tourism is doing efforts to attract giant cruise ships in line with our national tourism campaigns. Cruise ships are an essential part of our efforts to promote winter tourism. For a long time, the Ministry has been coordinating with local authorities to ensure that the country’s ports remain capable of meeting the needs of cruise ships of all sizes. This year, we are confident that we will surpass our previous accomplishments thanks in part to the ministry’s ongoing partnerships with relevant institutions to make Oman one of the world’s popular cruise ship destinations. By the end of 2019, Oman welcomed 283,844 cruise tourists. We expect the number to reach 300,000 in 2020,” Abdullah Saif Al Saadi, head of cruise and charter flights, Ministry of Tourism, said.
The cruise sector is helping to improve local tourism, raise economic returns, and diversify government revenue sources, according to the ministry.
The number of cruise ships visiting Salalah this year is expected to increase as a result of developments at the Port of Salalah, made possible through the efforts and partnerships of the Ministry with cruise agents and other related organisations. During the period 2019-2020 the Ministry said 284 cruise ships will visit Oman.