Oman to boost tourism by attracting Indians

Dubai: Oman plans to boost tourism by attracting Indian and Russian tourists after facing a slump in the number of European visitors due to the anti-government protests this year.

"We were expecting certain numbers that we didn`t achieve because of the worry," Olga Kubrak, the sales and public relations manager at The Chedi hotel in Muscat said.

The hotel depends on Europe for more than 80 percent of its guests, with most of those tourists arriving from the UK and Germany, `The National` newspaper reported.

Protesters have taken to the streets in Oman several times this year to demand economic improvements and political reform.

While Kubrak declined to offer figures for the drop in business, she said the downturn caused by the stir "was very evident," with some bookings cancelled.

"If you`re a first time visitor, then you`re hesitant," she said.

New markets are expected to replenish the industry.

"We`re doing a lot with India at the moment. We`re doing a lot with Russia," she said.

Oman Air, the country`s national carrier, is also planning to launch direct flights to Moscow at the end of the year.

"We have new representative offices in India and Russia. China will be our next plan," Mohammed Al Riyami at Oman`s tourism ministry said.

The kingdom attracted more than 1.6 million tourists last year and is still hoping to increase that number this year, the newspaper reported.


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