Oman’s tourism rates soar as expat numbers plummet

Europeans still account for the bulk of non-Arab visitors to Oman. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 11 June 2019

Oman’s tourism rates soar as expat numbers plummet

  • The number of hotel guests rose to nearly 200,000, but room rates remained steady
  • While tourism grows, the expat ban has pushed residency figures down

DUBAI: The number of foreign tourists visiting Oman in April rose by more than a third compared with the same time last year, according to figures issued by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

There were 330,685 foreign visitors to Oman in April 2019 – 84,452 more than the same month in the previous year, accounting for a 34.3 percent increase.

The majority of the visitors were GCC nationals – with 152,249 visitors making up 46 percent of the overall number of tourists in April this year, an increase of 41 percent.

There were 155,810 non-Arab nationals visiting from across the world, with the main bulk from Europe – predominantly Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain.

Oman saw 14,000 cruise ship visitors for the same time period – that was 53.7 percent more than the same month in 2018.   

And the number of hotel guests rose by nearly half as much from 134,000 in April 2018 to 199,000 in April, 2019.

While the number of guests staying in Oman’s hotels increased, room rates remained steady year-on-year, although occupancy rates fell slightly from 64.3 percent to 63 percent.

While the report did not attempt to explain the latter, local press have reported an increase in the number of available hotel and hotel apartment rooms across the country.

But while the number of foreign tourists is on the increase, the country’s Omanization project has seen the expat population fall below 2 million for the first time in two years, the NCSI said in a separate report.

The drop means foreign residents now only account for 43 percent of the country’s overall population – the lowest in three years.

The decline in expat numbers is the result of Oman’s ongoing expat visa ban for certain professions and industries aimed at tackling the number of unemployed locals.


China suspends planned tariffs on some US goods

Updated 1 min 8 sec ago

China suspends planned tariffs on some US goods

  • Chinese tariffs were supposed to target goods ranging from corn and wheat to vehicles and auto parts
  • Beijing agreed to import at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over the next 2 years

SHANGHAI: China has suspended additional tariffs on some US goods that were meant to be implemented on Dec. 15, the State Council’s customs tariff commission said on Sunday, after the world’s two largest economies agreed a “phase one” trade deal on Friday.
The deal, rumors and leaks over which have gyrated world markets for months, reduces some US tariffs in exchange for what US officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.
China’s retaliatory tariffs, which were due to take effect on Dec. 15, were meant to target goods ranging from corn and wheat to US made vehicles and auto parts.
Other Chinese tariffs that had already been implemented on US goods would be left in place, the commission said in a statement issued on the websites of government departments including China’s finance ministry. “China hopes, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, to work with the United States, to properly resolve each other’s core concerns and promote the stable development of US-China economic and trade relations,” it added.
Beijing has agreed to import at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over the next two years on top of the amount it purchased in 2017, the top US trade negotiator said Friday.
A statement issued by the United States Trade Representative also on Friday said the United States would leave in place 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.