Published on : Thursday, April 18, 2019
Cruise tourism in Oman is on rise. The international cruises visiting Oman during the year 2018-2019 has reached to 298 which is a rapid increase of 106 compared to the previous year 2017-2018. The number of national and international based cruise ships that arrived at Sultan Qaboos Port was 147 ships, it was 72 at Khasab port and 79 at Salalah port. It is expected that in 2019-2020 tourism season, the luxury, upscale and midscale cruise ships visiting to Oman would reach to 360.
According to the latest record, the number of international and domestic tourists who came on cruise ships in 2018 was 193,467, and it is expected to reach to 220,000 in 2019.
Variety Cruises, one of the luxury cruise said that the management is looking after the options to make the Omani cruise industry on rise. According to the Variety Cruise, Gulf Area (referring to the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman waters surrounding the United Arab Emirates and Muskat) will grow its cruise tourism industry in the years to come.
Yiannis Vontas, executive vice president – partner, Variety Cruises said that they are going to be in Oman in 2020-2021 with the Voyager Cruises sailing between Muskat and Dubai. Vontas also said that Variety Cruise is keenly interested in Tahiti, French Polynesia, which is a huge draw for the line’s California and other West Coast passengers. They believe that there is a big market for cruise industry. Oman, Tahiti, French Polynesia has also huge profitable market for small ship, and they always have to find destinations where the small ship can allow for a programme which is very unique, and he thought in both Oman and Tahiti we can do extremely well. Vontas said that Variety Cruise is planning to position a ship on a year-round basis in Tahiti, if not next year, the year after.
Most of the tourists, who come mostly during the month of October to April, come to explore the natural beauty of Oman and to soak up its culture and heritage. The Ministry of Tourism of Oman also organises many entertainment activities for the international and national tourists arriving on board in cooperation with the local agents. The Ministry of Tourism of Oman also opens up its traditional souqs for the cruise tourists and the guests so that they can have a first-hand experience of Omani traditions and its traditional industry.
Rowas bin Hafiz Al Rowas, Assistant Director General for Tourism Development and Investor Services, said that the domestic or the international cruise ship visiting Salalah port this year is expected to see an enormous boost in tourism, as a result of the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism along with Salalah Port and other organisations, government and private tourist companies and cruise agents. Al Rowas also remarked that the cruise industry is getting benefits from the tourism sector along with the local community. Now there is a considerable increase in the visit to Oman during winter season as they mostly dock at the Salalah port. These luxury and upscale cruise also generate huge revenue to the tourism industry, benifitting the local people and the country as well.