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Oman is expecting a double-digit growth in the number of tourist arrivals from India, its second-highest source market, in 2019 as it pushes to make the sultanate a preferred destination for Indian travellers.

Oman recorded a 12.8 per cent growth in Indian tourist arrivals in 2018 with 358,682 travellers, against 317,844 in 2017, making India the second-highest source market for the country.

“Our plans are to achieve double-digit growth in the number of Indian tourist arrivals during the year 2019,” Lubaina Sheerazi, India representative of Ministry of Tourism, Oman, was quoted as saying by Indian media.

India has been an important market for Oman and it has been one of the best-performing countries, reaching the status of second-highest source market after the GCC, she added. About the initiatives the country has taken to promote itself as a preferred destination, Lubaina said, “Several initiatives have contributed to this success, such as launch of the electronic visa, direct flight connectivity from various cities in India and opening of the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport, among others.”

With growing number of travellers each year, the Oman Tourism Strategy, developed by the Ministry of Tourism, foresees at least 11.7mn international and domestic tourists by 2040, she added.

“As part of 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,” Lubaina said.

The Ministry of Tourism is fully committed to enhancing the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) component and to help Oman achieve its potential to be a first-class destination for the business tourism segment, Lubaina said.

India will remain a major tourism source market for the Gulf states, as it is one of the fastest growing outbound travel market in the world, second only to China, according to the Colliers International report.

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