(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- Oman's push for a liberal visa regime is turning things around for the tourism industry in the country. After witnessing a downward trend in the last three years, the hospitality industry in the sultanate has seen a rebound in 2018, which can, in part, be attributed to Oman's keenness to attract visitors from newer markets like India, China, Russia among others.
For last three years, the hotel industry has been confronted with negative forecasts of ever declining revenues, leading to a compounded 33 per cent decline in RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room), according to Colliers International, that reports the state of the industry every quarter for MENA region.
Bucking that trend, the new year brought about a positive change. For the first three months of 2018, Colliers' MENA Hotel Forecasts showed a two per cent Year on Year (YoY) increase in RevPAR for the Muscat hotel industry. While it forecast a nine per cent YoY increase in RevPAR for the next three months and a full four per cent YoY growth for 2018.
According to Colliers' report on China as source market for the GCC, 154mn Chinese are estimated to travel overseas in 2018. Countries around the world are jostling to get a share of the Chinese travel market and GCC is not far behind.
According to the report, 2.5mn Chinese arrivals are expected to GCC by 2021, an increase of 21 per cent in annual growth. 'GCC countries are expected to receive more travellers in the coming years with Chinese tourists arrivals expected to grow annually in the UAE and Saudi Arabia by 20 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, followed by Oman with 12 per cent till 2021.' Opening of new leisure attractions and business opportunities in the GCC and falling barriers for Chinese travellers to GCC will contribute to this trend, the report added.
'UAE and Oman have successfully been able to put themselves on the travel wish list of Chinese leisure travellers. The introduction of on-arrival visas for Chinese in Oman in May this year, the UAE in November 2016 and Bahrain in 2014 has made travel hassle free.'