Cruise ships to boost tourism

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– The Ministry of Tourism is putting more efforts to encourage cruise tourists. “The Ministry of Tourism plays a major role in developing this type of international tourism in coordination with the government, private sector and cruise ship operators. It makes the ports of the Sultanate attractive stop over points for the giant cruise ships. The process of obtaining licenses for the purpose has been made flexible and easy. The cruise ships’ market is important for the growth of tourism activity,” Abdulla bin Saif al Sadi, head of ships and cruises department in the Ministry of Tourism, said.
Marella Discovery arrived at Sultan Qaboos Port for the third time in the winter tourism season to carry out a passenger transfer operation for the 2019/2020 season. This is as part of the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism to strengthen the cruise ship sector in cooperation with various authorities.
Al Sadi said: “The return of Marella Discovery to the Sultanate for the third time is a milestone. It is a huge support to the plans of the ministry to improve this sector and transform all ports of the Sultanate which is receiving the tourists through cruise ships into platforms for their regional tours. Last week, 700 tourists arrived at Muscat airport from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports of the UK. From the airport, they went to Port Sultan Qaboos to embark on a regional tour through the Marella Discovery cruise ship and depart via the same flights back to the UK.
Al Sadi said: “This exchange of passengers will be repeated next year in April. This is one of the most important achievements made by the ministry’s cruise ships department during 2018-2019 season. This will be first such cooperation and arrangement with Marella Cruise. The second phase involves 1,800 passengers.” He said it would bring lots of economic benefits for the Sultanate.
The ministry participates in the international events an exhibitions related to cruise ships to meet the decision makers from cruise companies to discuss their plans for the region and the Sultanate, said al Sadi.
The ministry has agreed with Marella Cruise International that the Sultanate would be a destination for arriving and departing tourists during the coming seasons. As part of the agreement, Marella Discovery will conduct its tours with 27 visits to the ports of the Sultanate during the tourist season 2020/2021. This will including 16 visits to Sultan Qaboos Tourism Port, eight to Khasab Port and three visits to Salalah Port. The ministry has also worked to enable Marella Discovery passenger exchange for the fifth time in Muscat during November 2020 and April 2021. There will be two visits to Khasab Port three to the port of Salalah and a number of visits to the Sultan Qaboos Tourism Port.
There was an increase in the number of cruise ships and tourist groups coming to the Sultanate. The visits of cruise ships to the Sultanate during the tourist season 2018/2019 was 298. In the 2019/2020 season, it increased to 314. This included approximately 71 visits to the Port of Salalah, 75 to Khasab port and 168 to the Sultan Qaboos Tourist Port.
The number of passengers of cruise ships arrived at the ports of the Sultanate in 2018 reached to 193,276.
Cast Kamilk from the United Kingdom said: “I visited the Sultanate for the first time and enjoyed the beauty of traditional markets and its heritage at lot. I was thrilled by the treatment given by the Omani people and the way they greeted us with smile.”
“I visited the Sultanate for the second time and I admire its beauty. It has lovely environment, traditional markets, high mountains, deserts and forts which tell its tale of glory,” said a tourist from Scotland.
Siusi Sparrow from London said she visited the Sultanate for the third time and enjoyed the tourist attractions of the country. She expressed her wish to visit the Sultanate every year. She said that this was the best place to relax, spend time full of entertainment and joy.

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