Oman is expecting over 10 per cent growth in tourist arrivals from India this year and is planning to focus on promoting the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) segment. The Sultanate of Oman had got 321,161 travellers from India in 2017, according to data by the Oman tourism ministry.
“We have been growing steadily since 2013. This year, we are expecting a double-digit growth of over 10 per cent on the back of focused marketing, tyeing up with more trade partners and more visibility,” Oman tourism ministry India representative Lubaina Sheerazi told PTI.
She said Oman has also simplified the visa process, which is expected to boost the growth. Oman, which has been focusing more on leisure and family segment, is now tapping the huge MICE segment in India. “We are infrastructure-ready to host MICE with the recent launch of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat, which supports international and local organisations in hosting large events,” she said.
The country is not only seeing a surge in MICE travel, but is also a preferred wedding destination for many, according to Sheerazi.
“Being under three hours away from India and having good air connectivity with 11 Indian cities have made Oman a preferred wedding destination for Indians. Simple visa access is also boosting the destination wedding segment,” she said. Positioned as an aspirational destination, Oman is targeting niche and well travelled people over 24 years, said Sheerazi.
Meanwhile, Maitha Saif Al Mahrouqi, undersecretary of the Oman tourism ministry, said that the country, being a safe destination, is also looking to tap independent travellers and groups especially women.
National carrier Oman Air is connected through 161 direct flights every week with major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Kochi, Goa, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram. Besides, Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo also connect the country to various Indian cities. Sunil VA, regional vice-president - Indian sub-continent, Oman Air, said the airline is in talks with the government to extend direct connectivity to Ahmedabad and Kolkata.