(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) On the back of increased tourist arrivals and infrastructure development, hotels in the sultanate registered a significant rise in revenues and occupancy rates in the first eight months of 2012, according to the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI).Oman's hotel revenues increased 15.5 per cent to RO82.5mn in the first eight months of 2012 from RO71.4mn in the corresponding period of 2011. Occupancy at five-star hotels increased to 51.6 per cent from 45 per cent in the same period last year, while occupancy in four-star hotels increased to 51.4 per cent from 50.9 per cent.''Our overall revenue and occupancy increased in 2012, whereas the average room rate has slightly declined, mainly due to the business mix. I believe the hotel industry is expected to see similar or slightly higher occupancies and rates in 2013. But the average room rate will be under pressure due to increasing competition mainly in the four-star market and rate-sensitive customers,'' said Christoph Franzen, general manager of Grand Hyatt Muscat.According to NCSI data, the total number of guests in Oman's four- and five-star hotels rose 21 per cent during the first eight months of this year to 400,221 from 331,103 in the same period last year.''Occupancy rates and revenues have gone up because of the increase in demand among tourists. We perceive 2013 as a strong year for the hotel industry in Oman since the European markets have started showing interest in Middle East destinations. Forward bookings have a strong foothold with tourists coming from far off destinations,'' said Mark Kirk, general manager of Shangri La's Barr al Jissah Resort & Spa.According to STR Global's September report, Oman posted one of the largest increases in occupancy rates in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.