Mumbai: India has become the the second highest source market for the Sultanate of Oman recording 12.37 percent growth in tourist arrivals with 357,147 Indian travellers visiting the country in 2018.
In 2017, 317,844 Indian tourists visited Oman, Ministry of Tourism, Oman said in a release issued here.
"With growing number of travellers each year, we are expecting double digit growth in 2019 as well," Oman Ministry of Tourism, India Representative, Lubaina Sheerazi said.
The country received 1,484,063 international travellers in 2018 compared to 1,369,199 in 2017, which is significantly higher, showcasing a growth of over 8.39 percent.
The numbers do not include regional travellers from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, who do not require a visa, it added.
"India represents a substantial and vast market for Oman, given the high percentage of travellers willing to travel abroad and experience new destinations. India has been an important market for us and it has been one of the best performing countries, reaching the status of second highest source market after GCC," Sheerazi said.
Several initiatives including the electronic visa, direct flight connectivity from various cities in India and opening of the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport, among others, was responsible for this growth, she added.
"As part of the its 2040 strategy, the Ministry of Tourism is undertaking major steps to develop and promote a series of destinations across Oman, offering visitors a broader variety of distinctive experiences, with the goal of encouraging extended visits and greater engagement with the country's culture and natural sites," Sheerazi added.
Oman, she said, is not only seeing a surge in meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) travel but also a preferred wedding destination for many having good air connectivity.
The national carrier Oman Air is connected via direct flights with major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Kochi, Goa, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram.