Leading travel publication Lonely Planet has ranked Oman eighth in the world among top countries to visit in 2017. It is the only country from the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East that made it to the list and it is the first time Oman has been featured in the ‘Best in Travel’ travel guide since 2009.
Oman has seen an increased number of flights and luxury hotels including the award-winning Alila Jabal Akhdar in the Hajar Mountains, Six Senses Zighy Bay on the Musandam Peninsula and the recently opened Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar. The Sultanate is also investing in entertainment parks – and the US$120-million Majarat Oman, a futuristic theme park for families, is set to open doors in 2017.
Oman saw about 2 million international visitors in 2015 and plans to attract more than 5 million visitors with its new national 2040 Tourism Strategy.
Director General of Tourism Promotion Salim Adi Al Mamari says: “Oman has been attracting tourists from across the globe for its stunning natural beauty – from mountains and wadis to desert landscapes and beaches. Internationally, Oman is renowned for hosting world class sporting events that have further strengthened the Sultanate’s position as a premier tourist destination. We are delighted to win this prestigious accolade and hope that it will encourage even more visitors to visit Oman and experience its unparalleled hospitality and natural beauty.”
Recently, the World Economic Forum in its latest biennial Travel and Tourism report also ranked Oman 9th in terms of safety and security. Globally, Oman has been recognised as a safe and secure destination for single travellers.
Earlier this year, Oman created sporting history by becoming the first country in the Middle East to host the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman in February. The America’s Cup brand is strong and this was a monumental opportunity for Oman to promote its sailing roots on an international scale.
In February, Oman Sail also hosted EFG Sailing Arabia, which entails two weeks of world-class racing around the Gulf Region. The Tour provides an opportunity for Oman Sail to get more Omanis out on the water since at least three domestic teams take part amongst countries such as a Germany, Monaco, and Great Britain etc.
For the past five years, The Tour of Oman also manages to attract the world’s top cyclists and teams. Oman’s population has always been open to embracing world’s customs and has a rich landscape to offer opportunities for such events.
Events such as these help raise the profile of Oman and further cements it as a niche destination for adventure, outdoor activities, luxury, spa and wellness in addition to culture and heritage.