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.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq confirm full commitment to OPEC+ agreement- statement

Updated 29 min 18 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Iraq confirm full commitment to OPEC+ agreement- statement

  • Both countries ministers said efforts by OPEC+ to meet their output cuts will enhance market stability

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Iraq on Monday confirmed their full commitment to the OPEC+ agreement.
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, and Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail held discussions on developments in the oil markets, the improved global demand for oil, and progress in implementing the current OPEC+ agreement to reduce production.
OPEC and its allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to cut oil output from May by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) after the coronavirus crisis destroyed a third of global demand.
The record cuts are now due to run to the end of July, before tapering to 7.7 million bpd until December.
But some OPEC members have not fully delivered on their agreed production cuts since May.
During a phone call, the Saudi minister commended Iraq’s performance within the framework of the agreement, as the country’s level of commitment in June reached nearly 90 percent.
Prince Abdulaziz thanked the Iraqi minister for his efforts in reaching the target, and expressed his confidence that Iraq will continue to improve its level of compliance with the oil cuts.
Ismail said Iraq would continue to improve compliance with the cuts to reach 100 percent by the start of August, pledging to compensate from July to September for the overproduction in May and June.
Both ministers also said that efforts by OPEC+, and the participating countries in the agreement, to meet their output cuts would enhance market stability and speed up their balanced recovery.

  • With Reuters