Oman’s Tourism Ministry and the country’s port operators are delighted with record cruise ship passenger arrivals projected to June 2011 with arrivals at Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos jumping to 231,100 - 72% higher than the 2009-10 cruise season.
The Director General of Tourism Promotion at Oman’s Tourism Ministry, Salem Al Mamari, says that while the results are pleasing and support our strategy, the year ahead will require greater marketing and consistent messaging to build awareness of Oman as a quality destination and stop-over for world and regional cruise operators.
The cruise ship results add to a record year for visitors to Oman. IATA data on passenger arrivals by air show a record of 2.08 million arrivals to Muscat International Airport in 2010 - 13% higher than 2009.
Muscat: Oman’s Ministry of Tourism and Port Sultan Qaboos figures show that the number of cruise ship visits to Muscat for the current 2010-11 season jumped from 78 to 94.
Salem Al Mamari, the Director General of Tourism Promotion at Oman’s Ministry of Tourism said “the results are very pleasing especially considering that passenger arrivals to Muscat in 2007 were just 44,885. We are seeing some welcome recognition of Oman as a preferred cruise destination. More companies are including Muscat on world itineraries, as well as Salalah and Khasab as distinctive regional destinations in their own right. The other welcome trend is the decision by a number of companies to deploy their larger vessels to our region” he said.
Since 2007 cruise ship visits to Muscat have grown quickly with 2010-11 being an exceptional year for growth. The Ministry expects passenger arrivals to Muscat to exceed 300,000 by 2015. Additionally, the Ministry is seeking to attract a specialist eco-friendly cruise vessel to base in Oman, an outcome that is closer to reality with Oman Air’s international expansion which makes crew and passenger exchanges through Muscat possible.
Director General Al Mamari said “we are seeing Oman, and especially Muscat, recognized as offering cruise ships an authentic experience, with the visual quality of a Muscat stop over among the most beautiful in the world. Experiences like these are welcomed by cruise ship itinerary planners wanting to offer something special. Also, Musandam/ Khasab with its shelters waters with mirror like reflections, and the vitality of sub-tropical Salalah are emerging cruise destinations with their own natural beauty” he commented.
Matching the good news on cruise ship arrivals, data just released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirms 2010 as a record year for visitor arrivals to Muscat International Airport with 2.08 million arrivals representing with Year-on-Year growth of 13%.