Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has revealed that the Sultanate posted a significant 43.6 per cent growth in cruise ship tourists from January to December 2019 to reach 283,488 passengers from 193,467 recorded during the same period last year. The highest arrivals are expected during the winter season that begins in October and ends in April.
The Ministry attributed the surge to the government’s relevant initiatives, including infrastructural developments, and the ongoing and reinforced tourism campaigns that focus on Oman’s civilisation, culture, heritage, diverse adventures, and popular 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). The highest arrivals are expected during the winter season that begins in October and ends in April.
The Ministry has been collaborating with relevant government and private sector entities and ship owners and operators to enhance cruise tourism in Oman as well as help develop the capability and efficiency of local ports to handle giant cruise ships. Part of the Ministry’s initiatives is faster license and permit, application processes and approvals.
Abdullah Saif Al Saadi, Head of Cruise and Charter Flights, Ministry of Tourism, said, “We aim to attract international cruise ships as part of our overall travel and tourism campaigns. To achieve this, we have been improving our ports, implementing the best practices and international standards, and enhancing our facilities, to name a few. We are also planning to invest in the facilities of Sultan Qaboos Port to entice more cruise ships to make a stopover in Oman. Furthermore, we will continue to participate in relevant forums and exhibitions as well as carry out promotional campaigns in collaboration with leading cruise lines.”
“The Ministry of Tourism is making 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 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,” he further stated.
Moreover, MSC company has been adding MSC Bellissima ship to Oman ports during this season 2019-2020. MSC Bellissima is the fifth cruise ship of MSC to make a stopover in Oman after MSC Lirica, Splenida, Magnifica, and Orchestra. During the winter season, MSC Cruises will carry out 49 visits to Sultan Qaboos Port, Khasab Port, and Salalah Port.