Published on : Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Oman’s tourism experts have opined that the impact of corona virus could signal the end of the road for some businesses with the country implementing new protection measures for restricting the spread of the pandemic.
On Friday, a month-long suspension of tourist visas for visitors from all countries was announced, along with a ban on cruise ships at Omani ports.
Mac Thomson, the CEO of MMIS LLC, an Oman-based hotel and asset management company for hospitality properties, said that the virus could bring in a drop in tourist numbers to a “once in a lifetime level” low level.
“Hotels are considering closing their doors,” Mr. Thomson said, adding that they could stay shut until September to save operating costs.
Mr. Thomson predicted a drop of around 60 per cent in revenue per room, which is expected to strain businesses, many of which are already witnessing reduced income.
“A number of underperforming properties will not survive”, Mr. Thomson said.
The visa ban in Oman, which currently has 22 confirmed cases of corona virus will only affect the last few months of the season, which runs from September to April. However, businesses are hoping that domestic tourism can help alleviate the effects.
However, tourism expert Badar Al Dhuhli said that Oman’s top tourist attractions are already deserted, and hotel occupancy rates have fallen dramatically and prices per night are going down.
Many tour operators have said that they have canceled all their bookings and are not accepting new ones until this crisis period is over.
For Oman, tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and is identified as a high-priority sector.