(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- The first charter flight of Nordwind Airlines from Russia arrived in Salalah on Monday kickstarting the winter season in Dhofar.
The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) stated on Sunday that it has approved Nordwind Airlines to operate charter flights from Moscow to Salalah starting from Monday until the end of March 2019.
The rains that tropical storm Luban brought in its wake to Dhofar could be a blessing as the governorate opens its doors for the winter tourism season.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Russian charter service is expected to bring around 5,400 tourists to Dhofar. This is in addition to thousands of other European tourists who will fly to Salalah on special charter flights from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Italy starting this month.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Food & Hospitality Oman exhibition being held at Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, H E Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, said, 'The sultanate has added facilities to attract tourists such as facilitating flights between Salalah and Moscow and easing visa regulations. These services will give great impetus to attracting tourists from around the world, thereby promoting winter tourism in Dhofar. This will also help increase investments in Dhofar.'
Nordwind charter flights arriving at Salalah International Airport are organised by Moscow-based tour operator Pegas Touristik. The airline will operate three flights a month on its B737-800, configured with 189 economy seats.
According to Pegas Touristik, the initial few flights to Oman are almost sold out. 'The demand is in line with our forecasts and expectations. Closer to mid-November, we expect a growth in demand, including for New Year's dates,' Anna Podgornaya, director general of Pegas Touristik, was quoted by Russian media.
The move by the Russian airlines is seen to cash on the change in visa requirements for Russian citizens to enter Oman. Earlier this year, Oman had eased the visa regulation for Russia, Iran and China, allowing their citizens to get tourist visas either directly online or on arrival. 'We hope to host 8,000 Russians by the end of the year,' a Ministry of Tourism official said recently at a tourism gathering held in Russia.