A high-power delegation from Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has concluded a series of five-city roadshows in India to reconnect with the Indian travel trade after a gap of almost three years.
The delegation was led by Asma Al Hajri, Deputy Director General of Oman’s MHT and included 10 leading tourism stakeholders from the Sultanate of Oman as well as the flag carrier, Oman Air.
According to a press release, the delegation visited key cities in three regions of India, covering the North with New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai in the West, and Bengaluru and Chennai in the South.
The statement adds that the roadshows attracted a strong participation from Indian stakeholders in all the cities. Oman has always been a tourist destination of choice for Indians, which is evident in the statistics of the country. The number of Indian arrivals into Oman for just the month of July 2022 stood at 36,087, the highest in the last 10 years for July. With this, the total number of Indian tourists visiting Oman from January to July 2022 stands at 167,678 visitors.
‘‘We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout of over 250 agents just in Southern India. This is a positive sign of recovery. India and Oman have always enjoyed strong relations in tourism. The pandemic has made people realise the value of travel and experiencing new horizons. Oman is constantly innovating in terms of its tourism products to cater to the ever-evolving Indian travellers,’’ says Al Hajri.
The statement adds that the roadshows witnessed not just a presentation on the country but also successful business interactions. Agents expressed optimism about the country and shared views on strategizing for positive growth. Oman has always been a favourite in the Middle East for India, not just for the sun and sea, but for its abundance of natural beauty, culture and adventure activities.
During the roadshows, Oman showcased its unique and experiential attractions such as off-road adventures, forts and castles, an authentic Omani experience of living in the villages, reliving the land of Frankincense story and much more. Oman is also very proud of its Khareef (monsoon) season in the city of Dhofar, which turns green in the rains. Interestingly, Muscat has the oldest Muttrah fort dating back to the 16th century, and the country also has a total of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, along with the Green Turtles that migrate to the Omani beaches every year.
Oman is not just sea and sand but is also known for its variety of adventure activities, be it paragliding, kite surfing, mountain biking, hiking, caving et al. There is something for every adrenalin-buzzed tourist, be it the exploration of the largest cave chambers in the world, Majlis Al Jinn, to snorkelling in the colourful coral reefs of the Daymaniyat Islands or camping under the stars in the A’Sharqiyah Sands.
On its part, the national carrier, Oman Air informed the Indian travel agents that it had scheduled as many as 48 shuttle flights, including a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will operate daily between Muscat and Doha during the upcoming FIFA World Cup from November 21-December 3, with prices starting from just OMR 49 for Economy Class and OMR 155 for Business Class. However, passengers are advised to arrive in Doha four hours before the start of a match due to the high frequency of flights each day. All passengers must register for a Hayya card (fan ID) as this is mandatory for travel on all match-day shuttle flights and entry into Qatar. A no-check-in baggage policy also allows passengers to plan an easy-in, easy-out travel itinerary.
Brainstorming with travel CEOs in Chennai
As part of its activities in Chennai, the Omani delegation also met with the CEOs of key travel trade companies to brainstorm and discuss marketing strategies to better position Oman as a preferred holiday destination among Indian travellers. The meeting focussed on identifying the right target segments, followed by a better understanding of the market realities. With the Indian traveller constantly evolving and looking for new experiences, there was also a need to realign strategies and think outside of the box. New mediums of advertising were explored, such as social platforms, digitalisation, and the right promotional platforms, says the press statement.
‘‘Every part of India is unique and that is evident even in terms of our tourism plans. We are constantly looking to reinvent the wheel and present a new experience. The exclusive meeting was insightful from an industry perspective to better understand the Indian traveller and, more importantly, our partners,” Al Hajri told the Indian partners at the meeting that was attended by several leading travel trade firms in Chennai, including Madura Travel Service, Baywatch Travels, Peekay Tours, Footprint Holidays, Embassy Travels & Tours and GJ Phoenix Travel and Leisure.