Oman's borders reopen for residents and citizens only

Hoteliers continue to rely on local tourism as international visitors must wait to visit the sultanate

International tourists wanting to visit Oman will have to wait a bit longer despite the resumption of flights in and out of the sultanate.

While international flights to Oman took off again on Thursday, they can only bring in “Omani citizens and residents” without prior approval, according to travel restrictions and guidelines outlined in a document by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

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The conditions and processes for acquiring prior approval are unclear to date.

Land borders are re-opening Thursday as well, but again only citizens and residents of Oman can enter and exit the country, according to a senior official source quoted in the Times of Oman.

Oman had closed its borders on March 16 in response to the rising number of coronavirus cases back then.

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Residents and citizens who want to travel back to the Sultanate need to take a PCR test at the airport and pay OR25 for this service.

If they are staying for more than eight days in Oman, they are required to wear a Tarrasud+ tracking bracelet and quarantine for 14 days.

Those there for less than seven days need to download Tarrasud+, a Covid related app).

In response to the new announcement, hoteliers said they are not expecting an increase in regional tourism in the short term.

“We are anticipating occupancies to hover around 50 percent in our resort with local market still being our key contributor,” said Siraj Memon, cluster director of sales and marketing for Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort and Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara.

“As the borders open, our GCC guests who have been waiting for a very long time are very excited and have already been pre-booking in advance,” added Angel Al Araimi, marketing communication manager at Alila Jabal Akhdar. Al Ariami said interest has been mainly from the UAE.

Memon also expects the UAE market to pick up when the borders re-open for non-residents and citizens. “KSA has imposed restrictions on the outbound travel until January 2021 and Kuwait has restrictions as well,” he said.

“In light of the current scenario it is still complicated to travel in and out with the additional cost of tests and the infection risk being still present and the ensuing mandated quarantine if tested positive,” Memon added.

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