Exploring Chinese market top on Oman's tourism agenda

(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Muscat- Oman's new visa rules for certain countries is sure to boost tourism, particularly in markets such as China - the number one in international outbound tourism and overseas spending.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Omani-Chinese Tourism Companies Forum held in collaboration with Oman-China Friendship Association on Thursday, Salim al Mamari, director general of tourism promotion at the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), said penetrating into the Chinese market is high on Oman's agenda.

'China is world's largest outbound tourism market. The number of outbound tourists from China increased to 135mn in 2016 and international tourism expenditure also rose to US$261bn. They are high-end tourists. And I think now Oman is ready to welcome them,' he said.

He said that new visa rules will boost Chinese arrivals. 'In 2016, 16,500 tourists visited Oman, registering a growth of 19.5 per cent. We are not into numbers, but we are also looking at high-end tourists.

'Chinese are very sensitive tourists who need special services, such as Chinese guides, Chinese cuisine. Our growth has to be steady.'

Oman and China had signed an MoU earlier. 'We are planning to have a representative in China, maybe next year to boost Oman among Chinese tourists.'

Mamari also said air connectivity is not a problem as other airlines are also promoting Oman in China. 'We have a facilitation agreement with Dubai and Doha. We want to be different from other countries. Strategies have to be different for different markets. We have Omanis who speak Chinese and we have to be prepared,' he said.

The forum witnessed the participation of 16 major travel and tourism Chinese companies, as well as Omani companies in the tourism sector.

Sayyid Adil al Busaidi, advisor on Tourism Affairs, MoT said, 'This gathering gives us the opportunity to discuss Oman's new tourism attractionsand Chinese investors' interests.'

Zhanlin Jin, deputy director of China Association of Travel Services in China said the forum threw light on what Oman has to offer. 'Oman has what Chinese tourists want. It just lacked marketing but the forum will help in making Oman known in China,' he said.


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