Oman eases visa rules for tourists from India, China and Russia

Oman received 3 million international travelers in 2016. (Courtesy Oman Tourism)
Updated 01 October 2017
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Oman eases visa rules for tourists from India, China and Russia

DUBAI: Oman has eased its visa requirements for tourists from India, China and Russia following a similar strategy its Gulf neighbors have implemented to attract travelers from the global market.
“All passengers from India, China and Russia, who reside in or hold an entry visa to one of the following countries (United States of America, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Schengen states) are allowed to obtain non-sponsored tourist visa to enter Oman as per the applied terms and conditions of the authorities,” a statement from the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said.
The non-sponsored tourist visa, at 20 Omani rials (SR195) and valid for one month, also allows holders to bring with them their spouses and children during their stay in Oman. They however must obtain return tickets and confirmed hotel reservations before they are issued the visas.
Oman is currently digitizing its visa issuance system on expectations the faster issuance of e-visas for 67 countries would encourage further growth in visitor arrivals.
The Gulf state received 3 million visitors last year, up from 2.47 million a year earlier, helped by a surge in arrivals from India at 297,628. Muscat recently launched its first ever India-specific brand campaign to promote the country as a prime experience-driven destination for those coming from the subcontinent.



Oman’s neighbor UAE has been experiencing a boom in tourism after earlier allowing visitors from Russia and China to obtain visas on arrival. Indian passport holders with EU or UK residency visas to were also given access to visas on arrival to the UAE, as well as those holding American visas or Green Cards.
Qatar meanwhile last month announced visa-free entry for the citizens of 33 countries for a period of 90 days within a 180-day time span, while nationals from 47 other countries can stay in Qatar for up to 30 days.
Both 30-day and 90-day visa holders are eligible for multiple entries to the country.
Bahrain meanwhile earlier adopted new single-entry visa and one-year multiple re-entry e-visa policies, which allows visitors on single-entry visas to stay in the kingdom for up to two weeks.
Holders of one-year re-entry visas meanwhile are allowed to stay for period of up to 90 days.
Manama also expanded the number of countries whose citizens can avail of visa-on-arrival facilities to 67, including some European and Central and South American states.


Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

Updated 30 min ago
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Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

  • The company would concentrate on its core strength, ‘powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles’
  • But Porsche promised it would keep servicing diesel models on the road now

BERLIN: Sports car maker Porsche said Sunday it would become the first German auto giant to abandon the diesel engine, reacting to parent company Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal and resulting urban driving bans.
“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Instead, the company would concentrate on what he called its core strength, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”
The Porsche chief conceded the step was a result of the three-year-old “dieselgate” scandal at auto giant Volkswagen, the group to which the luxury sports car brand belongs.
VW in 2015 admitted to US regulators to having installed so-called “defeat devices” in 11 million cars worldwide to dupe emissions tests.
It has so far paid out more than €27 billion in fines, vehicle buybacks, recalls and legal costs and remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.
Diesel car sales have dropped sharply as several German cities have banned them to bring down air pollution — a trend that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to discuss with car company chiefs in Berlin later Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Porsche in February stopped taking orders for diesel models, which it had sold for nearly a decade.
Blume said Porsche had “never developed and produced diesel engines,” having used Audi motors, yet the image of the brand had suffered.
“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” he said, months after Germany’s Federal Transport Authority ordered the recall of nearly 60,000 Porsche SUVs in Europe.
Blume promised that the company would keep servicing diesel models on the road now.
According to the paper, Porsche also faces claims of having manipulated engines to produce a more powerful sound with a technique that was deactivated during testing.
Blume acknowledged that German regulators had found irregularities in the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5, affecting some 13,500 units.
Merkel, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and heads of German auto companies were due to meet in Berlin later Sunday to discuss steps to avoid more city driving bans.
The German government hopes to see one million fully electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2022, up from fewer than 100,000 at the start of this year.