Muscat: Successive marketing campaigns have helped promote Oman among Indians as an affordable tourist destination instead of a place for jobs, said a top official at the Ministry of Tourism.
In an exclusive interview to the Observer, Lubaina Sheerazi, India representative, Ministry of Tourism, said, “The Sultanate always had a brand recall in the minds of Indians; however, it was restricted to as a destination offering employment opportunities.
As a brand, the tourism highlights of Oman have always been overshadowed by this perception. In 2017, we launched Oman Tourism’s very first customized television campaign to highlight not just the culture, landscape and history of Oman, but also showcase Oman as an ideal adventure and wedding destination. The idea was to go beyond High Net Worth Individuals and premium travellers and attract younger audiences and women.”
The focus is also on targeting the family, solo travellers, women, adventure and luxury seekers. Oman is an ideal luxury destination for a big Indian wedding or a honeymoon by the Omani shores or by the picturesque backdrop of the mountains or set sail on a luxury yacht with a small group and discover the dramatic coastline, she said.
“The magnificent palace-like hotels and resorts are perfect for a two-day or three-day Indian wedding. Being less than three hours away from India and easy availability of Indian food makes Oman a preferable wedding destination for Indians. Oman is a relatively unexplored destination compared to other GCC countries and this also adds value to the destination as Indian clients want to explore new destinations. We have promoted the destination for weddings through year-long association with wedding portals to showcase various aspects of conducting Big Fat Indian Weddings in Oman.”
Oman offers a short-term tourist visa for RO 5 (930 Indian rupees) to visit the Sultanate for a period of 10 days. This is in addition to the existing e-visa for Oman which is available at RO 20 with a validity of one month.
Oman has recorded a 12.37-per cent growth in Indian tourist arrivals with 357,147 travellers visiting the country from January to December 2018 compared to 317,844 in 2017.
The Ministry of Tourism foresees at least 11.7mn international and domestic tourists by 2040 and has unveiled its 2040 Tourism Strategy which will see investments of around RO 20 billion.