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Wed 7 Mar 2012 01:57 PM

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Oman looks to attract cruise ship business

Gulf state hopes to persuade operators to include Oman in itinerary

Oman looks to attract cruise ship business
Oman wants to attract 12m tourists by 2020 (image for illustrative purposes only)

Oman is in talks with
several international cruise operators in a bid to persuade them to include the
Gulf state in their routes as the country looks to boost its revenues from
tourism, a senior official at the Ministry of Tourism has said.

Tourism officials are
talking with representatives from Royal Caribbean, Aida and Costa, Haitham Al
Gasani, director of Tourism Promotion and Awareness at the Ministry, told Gulf
News
.

“The cruise industry helps
direct as well as indirect market growth in the country,” he told the
newspaper. “We are talking to major players in the cruise industry - like Royal
Caribbean, Aida and Costa - to convince them to come to Oman.

“The cruise sector is
important,” he added. “We now have a special terminal to cater to the cruise
ships, their crew and passengers." He added that the government also eased
visa procedures for cruise tourists. Now Oman gives 48-hour free visas to
cruise passengers.”

The Gulf state, which aims
to attract 12m tourists to the country by 2020, will also increase its
hotel room capacity said Al Gasani. “It is a simple rule of demand and
supply,” he said.

“We need to have more rooms
to meet with the increasing number of tourists. Currently, we have 229 hotels
and apartments that offer about 11,000 rooms.”

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