Short stays, the new tourist axis of Oman

Rania Khodr, the director of the Sultanate of Oman’s Tourist Office in Paris, is right to welcome the more than 20% increase in French tourism in 2018, the highest increase in Europe.

Oman welcomed more than 60,000 French tourists last year but is targeting nearly 70,000 in 2019. Because Oman wants to attract in addition to a clientele that usually stays almost two weeks on site, a new market segment by highlighting the possibility of coming for short stays of three or four nights.

For all its visitors the Sultanate of Oman does not lack attractions, an innate sense of hospitality, a hot and dry climate almost permanent, landscapes, beaches, deserts or mountains, magnificent and above all an extremely safe and welcoming country, not to mention an abundant luxury hotel industry.

Oman Air offers direct daily flights from Paris to Muscat (duration 7 hours) which allow for example to take the outward flight from Thursday evening around 9pm (arrival in the morning around 7am) and to catch the plane again on Sunday afternoon around 3pm to arrive in Paris in the early evening around 7.30pm.

In this example, Thursday evening-Sunday evening, with two and a half days on site, there are many possibilities for activities. For lovers of total relaxation, no problem, in Muscat 5* luxury hotels are located directly on beautiful beaches.

A few privileged people can leave directly to settle down after 2 hours of driving at the 5* Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhbar hotel, the most surprising of Oman’s luxury hotels, built in the mountains and overlooking a huge canyon. A magical place and a luxury retreat that requires a certain budget.

For these short stays most of the arrivals will choose to stay in Muscat and will take advantage of their first morning to visit the city with the Great Mosque, the two forts and the souks. The tour is not too long. Muscat is the smallest capital city in the world.

After an afternoon with a seaside option, why not spend the evening at the Royal Opera House, which since its opening in 2011 offers shows of international quality.

The next day can be the opportunity to go inland to see the Niswa oasis and its fort, 1h40 drive from Muscat. Don’t forget to visit the two neighbouring fortresses of Bahla and Jabrin, less than 20 minutes from Niswa. These 3 forts are among the most beautiful in Oman, which has nearly 500 of them.

Located only 1h from Muscat the fort of Nakhal could be another choice for a walk. It is one of the most photogenic with a spectacular natural environment in the heart of the Hajar Mountains. Don’t miss a walk in the palm grove of Nakhal along the magnificent irrigation canals that offers the walker a delicious freshness.

For those who would like a more sporty stay, this day offers the opportunity to practice water sports, water skiing, kite-surfing, diving or sailing. For golfers there are also several courses all around Muscat.

For the last morning, a last tan on the beach, a last 18-hole course or more classic, a little shopping at the souks… before the start in the early afternoon. As many people leave, they will start turning the pages of their diaries to find out when they can return.

Frédéric de Poligny

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