Oman a Welcoming Destination for Tourists

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Recently, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) simplified the process of travel for GCC residents who wish to visit the Sultanate of Oman for short trips

With the Eid al Fitr holidays ahead, it is time to explore one of the prettiest places in this part of the world.

Adding to what all travel magazines and reports describe Omanis as very friendly is that it is also a welcoming nation with one of the most liberal visa regime rules for tourists.

Recently, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) simplified the process of travel for GCC residents who wish to visit the Sultanate of Oman for short trips (up to 14 days).

Regardless of job categories, all GCC residents can obtain visas (either E-Visa or Visa on Arrival depending on the nationalities) to enter the Sultanate of Oman via different ports.

Plus, the visitor is not required to arrive directly from that GCC country to benefit from this facility, provided the validity of the residency is no less than three months.

As part of efforts to promote and ease services for tourists visiting the Sultanate of Oman, nationals of 103 countries are exempted from entry visas for stays of up to 14 days.

The exemption will be subject to certain requirements including a prior and confirmed hotel booking, health insurance, and a return ticket.

However, citizens from 27 out of 103 countries are exempted from visas for 14 days only if they have a Schengen passport or entry visas to the USA, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, or Japan.

These 27 countries are India, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Armenia, Panama, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkmenistan, Honduras, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Laos, Albania, Bhutan, Peru, Salvador, Mexico, Vietnam, Cuba, and Maldives.

Apart from liberal visa rules, the government has embarked on plans to enhance the quality of facilities provided at various tourist sites.

“Visas to the Sultanate of Oman are easy to process and are issued within 2-3 working days with minimal documentation requirements. It is the right time for GCC residents to visit the country and they can easily pick tours and packages of their choice online or through authorised travel operators,” said Merlin of an established travel company in Muscat.

Khalfan, a taxi operator-cum-tour guide, said, “The Sultanate of Oman is a country of roads and that is the only mode of travel to reach one tourist place to another. A number of tourists, including some residents, approach me with requests for a day tour from Muscat, covering some important landmarks. I offer them deals as per their requirements, budgets, and also previous experiences, if any.” Apart from reputed local travel agencies, tourists have the option to book tour packages (including pick-ups and drops) from online sites as booking. com, GetYourGuide, Viator, and Expedia among others.

Among the places that any tourist must visit is the Musandam Governorate, which is now home to the 1,800-metre dual zipline project in the Wilayat of Khasab. From neighbouring UAE, expatriates can get visas at the Khasab land border and while from Muscat, the travel option is by air (Oman Air) or ferry from Shinas in the Al Batinah North Governorate.

The recently opened Oman Across Ages Museum is the largest of its kind in the region, offering visitors an interactive experience of the cultural and geographic diversity of the Sultanate of Oman.

The permanent exhibition space on its own is 9,000 sqm and some galleries stretch more than 20 metres high.

The museum takes one on a vast, sweeping journey through time. Starting with the first settlers of prehistory and ending in modern-day Oman, you fly through different ages, dynasties, and civilisations.

It has an interactive audio-visual narration using the latest technologies in this field to create an enjoyable, educational museum experience for various visitors. The museum has entry fees and is around 21km from the popular Nizwa Fort.

Other notable places to visit during upcoming holidays are turtles hatching at Ras al Jinz, Bimmah Sinkhole, Wadi Shab, Fins, Sur, Wahiba Sands, Masirah Island, Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, and Jabal Shams.

Foreign tourists to Muscat should not miss the Muttrah Souq, Muttrah Waterfront, Al Alam Palace, National Museum, Royal Opera House, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a drive through Qantab Road, and the beaches in the Qurum area. Public transportation is available in the capital via the Mwasalat bus and on-demand taxis.

Source : Zawya