Word on the street: Attracting tourists to Oman
Public opinion on the streets of Muscat.
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) is planning a network of integrated rest areas along the highways. How far do you think this will aid tourist inflow into the interior regions?
Chittendra Kumar Sahoo, Deputy manager
Oman has a lot to offer to tourists. The interiors speak volumes about the culture and beauty of the country. If MoT opens rest areas, it will aid those tourists who belong to the hop-on hop-off category. This in return will boost revenue as more and more tourists will visit the country.
Ambarish Bohidar, Marketing manager
Washrooms and cafeterias at fuel stations are some of the basic facilities that any traveller looks for while criss-crossing cities. The government should consider them first before even thinking of coming up with a four-star or five-star hotel. This decision to have rest areas along the highways will definitely aid tourist inflow. Of all the Gulf countries, Oman is blessed with a lot of tourist attractions. If exploited well, these can boost country’s coffers.
Ali al Kayomi, Administrator
It is a good idea and should have been implemented in the first place. You drive for miles and then find one coffee shop in some secluded place. A tourist needs a place to eat and rest. The government is considering setting up big hotels. Not all stay in big hotels though. Rest areas can attract more tourists and help the country financially.
Mohammed al Mazroui, Businessman
It’s time we learn from the experience of other countries. Countries that are attracting tourists in a big way already have these facilities in place. Today’s travellers are the hop-on and hop-off types. Then, why concentrate on big hotels. Oman undoubtedly has a lot to offer to tourists. If we have a desert, we also have a Salalah and Jebel Shams. These rest areas will be a blessing for everyone.
Padmalaya S, Homemaker
Oman is the only country in the Gulf blessed with natural beauty. Lots of people visit Oman but their tour plans are restricted to only a few cities as there are no facilities along the way. The present-day tourists don’t spend much on hotels. Rest areas will definitely aid tourist inflow.
Anamika Paul, Entrepreneur
It is definitely a good initiative by the ministry to build rest areas along the highways. I think many people will benefit, especially those travelling with small children. Interiors of Oman have some very fascinating places and the integrated network can indeed aid tourist inflow.
What more needs to be done to promote tourism outside Muscat? is there a lack of tourism infrastructure in the interiors?
Abhilash Menon, Computer networking
There is room for improvement in terms of hotels. When outside the capital, we have to choose between expensive five-star hotels and the very basic ones, but there doesn’t seem to be much in-between. A vast majority of people will prefer a ‘middle-level’ hotel. That said, there has been improvement in transportation with Mwasalat’s services.
Asim Hyder, Assistant finance manager
I think the availability of information about places to visit is an issue. Tourist information centres should be set up in places of interest. Some places should also have shaded areas for families to picnic. Also, road signs should be improved in certain places so that people don’t get lost.
Khalil Walad al Wadi, PRO
Tourists who visit Oman are looking for an authentic experience. Peace, quiet and an unhurried pace of life are what Oman offers. Our road network is top notch and new hotels are coming up to cater to tourists of different budgets. The essentials are in place. Overdeveloping tourist hot spots would take away the authentic experience.
Nasser Khamis al Shehi, Hotel employee
Self drive tours are becoming more and more popular. Roads are in excellent conditions, the signage is good and parking is easy to get everywhere outside the capital. However, it would be nice to have a 24-hour tourism hotline with multilingual agents to answer questions and give information about activities, tours, hotels, etc. It would really make Oman stand out as the only country to offer a tourist concierge service.
Ahmed Bogga, Real estate agent
When compared to other countries, Oman is easy to tour. What I mean is, there are 24-hour petrol stations with convenience shops in most places, Traffic outside of Muscat is light. Hotels are flexible with check-out times, people are always ready to assist tourists, and businesses are open late.
Bikramjit Sinha, Private sector employee
I will suggest roadshows to promote tourism areas outside the capital city. We often see many countries organising roadshows in Oman to attract tourists. Similar initiatives can be undertaken by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism to make people know about places worth visiting within the country, which many may not be aware of.
What areas should be developed and how to promote tourism during summers when heat forces everyone indoors?
Khalid Mohammad, Businessman
The best way to develop tourism is to have indoor parks which are air-conditioned. This will help to increase footfall. It should begin in Muscat as this is the capital city.
Mohammad Asghar, Engineer
Muscat is well developed like any other top city in the world. Lots of indoor recreational facilities have come up. Time has come to focus on developing such facilities in places like Sohar and Barka. They have lots of growth potential. Indoor theme parks in these places can help boost tourism.
Jaspal Singh, Sales executive
Oman needs to have a shopping festival on the lines of Dubai Shopping Festival to boost tourism and the economy. Muscat and Salalah are the two biggest cities and the focus should be on organising more indoor recreational and entertainment events in summers.
Khalid al Balushi, Private sector employee
Focus should be to have more theme-based entertainment options to attract tourists. Summer tourism can be made attractive through special hotel and flight rates. This will encourage more people to visit Oman.
Vinod Raghavan, Advertising professional
Having water parks is one of the best ways to develop tourism in Oman. It will be better if they are indoors. The best places to develop such facilities are in small cities like Nizwa and Sur because they are untapped jewels.
Rajiv Sharma, IT sector
Here, people often prefer exploring wadis in different parts of the country. Having rest houses with proper shower facilities and coffee shops, etc will attract more people. Malls is the last option that people have during holidays.