Oman hopes to lure more tourists by slashing visa costs by 75%.
The new tourist entry visa fee is OMR 5 and is valid for up to 10 days. Cruise arrival visas are free for up to 24 hours or OMR 5 for multiple visits. A fee of OMR 20 for a single entry for up to a month remains in place.
Under-secretary of tourism Maitha Al Mahrouqi said: “The government has moved proactively to improve Oman’s competitiveness in stop-over, short-stay and conference tourism.
“The changes also encourage travel to Salalah and other regional destinations, and conference organisers to consider Oman as an event location”.
The tourism ministry expects a lift in leisure and short stay visits in the short-term as well as growing numbers of airline transit passengers, up by 19% in the year to September 2011 to 787,000.
Oman is also seeing an increase in cruise ship activity and the new visa arrangements strengthen the case for lines to consider Muscat for crew and passenger exchanges.
“The changes will be welcomed by the global travel and tourism trade,” said Maitha Al Mahrouqi. “The changes make Oman very attractive for the growing stopover, business and cruise passenger segments - areas of great potential.
“The changes also open up possibilities for a wide range of trade and consumer tactical campaigns, including our stopover campaign with Oman Air.”
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