Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism invited travel agents to agent roadshow events in London and Manchester on September 12 and 13. Agents had the opportunity to network with 21 tourism partners representing ground handlers, hotels and Oman Air.
Attendees could also win holidays featuring luxury accommodation in Oman plus return flights with Oman Air by answering questions about the country and its tourism offerings. The quizzes on both evenings were hosted by BMI Publishing’s Steve Thompson.
Attendees heard that nationals from 103 countries, including the UK, are exempt from entry visas for stays of up to 14 days in Oman. To qualify, visitors must have a return ticket, a confirmed hotel booking and valid health insurance.
Oman is positioning itself as a base for football fans wishing to stay in Arabia during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in nearby Qatar. 24 flights a day will operate between Muscat and Doha during the football tournament. Ticket holders will be granted a multi-entry visa valid to Oman for up to 60 days. Muscat will host a fan zone providing match screenings, culinary offerings and family-friendly entertainment.
Several established destination management companies based in Oman offer services that enable travel agents to book tours and activities for clients.
They include Happy Travels, which showcases the diversity and cultural heritage of Oman with specialist packages targeting specific interest groups. Offerings include women-only tours plus tours aimed at golfers, scuba divers and horse riders. The company owns its own stables and boat and offers camping on Daymaniyat Island between October and April.
Established in 1971, Zahara Tours recently celebrated more than 50 years of being in business. The company’s sustainable credentials are reflected in its Travelife Partner status, use of hybrid cars in Oman’s interior and commitment to minimising plastic use.
Miracle Travel and Tourism specialises in tailoring experiences for the luxury niche. That includes family adventure projects and traditional cooking demos with Omani families. During November and December, the company will offer packages that cater for people visiting the sultanate while attending FIFA World Cup games.
The Sultanate has a diverse accommodation offering. InterContinental Hotels Group operates the InterContinental Muscat, Oman’s first luxury hotel. Established in 1977, the 270-room property recently underwent a $15m refresh to give it an urban resort feel. The Group also operate the 200-room Crowne Plaza Muscat hotel.
The Radisson Hotel Group operates five hotels in Oman. They include Park Inn, Radisson Blue and a Radisson Collection Hotel in Muscat, the country’s capital city. The group’s District Director Panos Panagis was recently named among Hotel and Catering News Middle East’s Top 30 Hospitality Heavyweights.
SAMA Resorts and Spa operates the eco-friendly SAMA Heights Resort and Spa Jabal Shams Hotel. At an altitude of 2,100m, near the village of Al Hamra, the property is popular with travellers seeking adventure activities ranging from dune bashing to desert runs. Opening in October, the SAMA Al Areesh camp at the Wahiba Sands will initially feature 10 rooms, rising to 75 over time, and offer activities such as sandboarding, camel rides and dune bashing.
The DusitD2 Naseem Resort Jabal Akhdar opened in January becoming Oman’s only adventure resort. The 8,000 sq m adventure park features a ropes course, zip line and a climbing wall. Guests can participate in a blindfolded Dining in the Dark experience.
At 2,000m up on the Saiq plateau, two hours from Muscat and a short drive from the Grand Canyon of the Middle East, the microclimate of the 252-room property enables fruit to be grown onsite. Family-friendly, the resort offers community-based tourism and has a Thai spa.
The 308-room and apartment Barceló Massanah Resort, formerly a Millennium property, features a new grassy area next to its beachfront. A 37,000 sq m landscaped garden is under development. From March 2023 interior furnishings will be upgraded. The resort frequently hosts top-tier sailing events and from 11-15 October 2022 will host the Arab Sailing Championship and from 23-27 November it will hold the 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championship.
Appealing to high-end clients, Magic Sands offers desert glamping at Wahiba Sands. With 10 tents, the eco-friendly camp is heated by solar power and promises a digital detox away from mobile phone signals. A resident astronomer aids guests to identify celestial bodies in a night sky devoid of light pollution. Luxury private glamping is also available in tents that feature majlis, a traditional lounge with lanterns and Berber rugs.
The 153-room Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah is a beachfront resort with a nine-hole golf course and three interconnecting pools. A new spa and wellness centre will open in February 2023.
Offering luxury accommodation in 310 rooms, the Kempinski Hotel Muscat in Muscat’s Al Mouj district is a beachfront property with 11 food and beverage outlets. Staying at the hotel means easy access to Oman’s only PGA-standard links golf course, designed by Greg Norman, and a marina with 400 berths.
Approximately 40 minutes’ drive from Muscat International Airport, the Shangri-La’s Al Jissah Resort and Spa is formed by three distinct wings catering for families, couples and holidaymakers seeking luxury. The resort employs two turtle rangers between December and August, giving guests an opportunity to learn about local marine wildlife.
New this year, frankincense butlers tell the story of the aromatic resin harvested from trees and demonstrate the process. At a property already renowned for its culinary offerings, Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai will begin serving dishes in October.
Agents are invited to learn more about the Arabian country via the Oman Ambassadors website powered by Equator Learning. It’s also possible to discover more by visiting the Experience Oman website and following the #ExperienceOman hashtag on social media.