International arrivals in Oman increases, turning into a key GCC destination

Published on : Wednesday, December 11, 2019

GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company revealed that Oman is rising gem in the inbound Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) travel market with international arrivals showing a growth of 11.2% between 2017 and 2018.It reached 2.7 million.


Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData mentioendn that by  the end of 2019, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted that Omani aviation will have grown by 40%. A new terminal at Muscat International airport at US$1.8bn, followed by a new domestic airport terminal at Duqm outlines the country’s plan for expansion. Holding a variety of greenery and natural offerings, not commonly found within other GCC destinations, Oman is becoming more widely recognised as a leisure destination.


The inbound travel for both visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and leisure are set to grow rapidly into Oman between 2018 and 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8% for VFR and 8.8% for leisure.


Bonhill-Smith went on saying that VFR has and will continue to take up a large amount of the inbound traveler market into Oman. However, since 2017, inbound leisure travelers are increasing at a similar rate.


Major source markets are  the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India taking up close to 20% of the international arrival market share. This is typically due to VFR with a large amount of expats traveling between countries explaining the continuous growth of the VFR market.

Oman’s Islamic rules are not as strict as other GCC states, this spurs a steady pace of inbound travellers.

There has been a growth across emerging European destinations such as the UK, Germany, France and Italy, which all featured in the top ten international arrivals in 2018.

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