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Oman's tourism industry has a lot to offer says Conde Nast Traveller

Oman is seeking to diversify its economy beyond the oil and gas industry and as a result the Sultanate of Oman is looking to develop one of its greatest assets- tourism. Officials are hoping that increased investments and promotion of its tourism products, from diving to luxury camping in the desert, will boost the sectors contribution to Oman's GDP to six per cent by 2020.

Oman's tourism industry has a lot to offer says Conde Nast Traveller

The Sultanate of Oman is working towards developing its tourism sector in an effort to diversify the economy beyond its dependence on oil revenues. According to recent projections, over 1.1 million travellers will book holidays in Oman this year- a three per cent increase over the number of arrivals recorded in 2014.

As a result, tourism receipts are expected to rise to $2.24 billion- a five per cent increase on 2014. To date, the tourism sector's contribution to Oman's GDP has increased by 2.5 per cent annually a figure that the Sultanate is hoping to increase to six per cent by 2020. To facilitate this growth the Sultanate is expected to invest heavily in the sector with a series of projects and upgrades to the existing infrastructure planned.

Muscat is certainly one of the key attractions for holidaymakers visiting Oman and so it comes as no surprise that much of the upcoming investments are focused on the capital city. Recent estimates indicate that the number of hotel rooms in Oman will double to 32,000 by 2020 and a $1.8bn upgrade at the Muscat International Airport (MCT) is expected to increase capacity to 12 million passengers annually.

The rich history and architecture as seen in sites such as the Grand Mosque, which boasts the world's largest chandelier, combined with the fact that it is home to some of Oman's best luxury hotels are among the key pull factors for Muscat. One lesser known fact is that Oman is home to some of the world's best diving locations, many of which are easily accessed from Muscat including; Dimaniyat, Fahal Island and Bandar Al Khayran.

The business development manager of Global Scuba in Oman stated the following of the diving experience in Dimaniyat:

"It only takes us about 30 minutes by boat from here, and there you have the abundance of corals, really nice soft corals. Last year marine biologists came across some unknown coral species here and there are some species that you can find only in Oman".

Other key attractions in Oman include turtle watching, cricket and of course Oman's vast desert where holidaymakers can enjoy camel rides, quad biking and even luxury camping in a traditional Bedouin-style tent. With such a diverse tourism product it is no wonder that the Sultanate is keen to capitalize on the county's assets.

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