Road trip alert: Pack your bags, UAE-Oman border is now open
Tourist flow to Salalah, corporate travel to UAE will pick up, say industry executives.
Inquiries for travel between the UAE and Oman have started to pour in and demand for both business and leisure tours will spike over the coming months, after the UAE reopened its borders with the neighbouring country on Wednesday.
Travel industry executives expect tourist flow from the UAE to Salalah to increase substantially because many residents visit Oman’s third-largest city during September-October to enjoy good weather.
“People can now easily go to Oman by road and September-October is the best time to travel to Salalah as many UAE nationals and residents visit Salalah for a break,” said Mir Wasim Raja, manager, MICE and holidays, Galadari International Travel Services.
“People who are not willing to take a flight can go by road now,” he added. “Bilateral tourism will certainly pick up over the coming weeks. Reopening the border is a win-win for both countries. As of now, tourism will take the lead over the MICE segment because the weather in Salalah is much better these days so a lot of people will travel there. Representatives of companies from Oman will also come to the UAE for meetings and exhibitions.”
Oman is a leading source of tourists for Dubai, attracting 55,000 visitors during January-July 2021. According to Dubai Tourism, Oman was the 13th largest market for the emirate during the first half of the year. Prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of people used to travel between the two neighbouring countries every year.
Raja noted that people going to Salalah by road usually make bookings for at least four to five days.
Sumit Acharya, managing director, BCD Travel LLC, said inquiries have started coming for travel to Oman following the reopening of the border. “We have started getting queries and once people understand the procedures at both ends, travel will pick up,” he said. “Tourism will grow both ways as borders have been closed for quite some time. People from the UAE go regularly to Oman to see friends and families or for leisure trips. We expect this segment to certainly go up a little bit.”
BCD Travel is also getting good inquiries for corporate travel to Oman. “We do have significant business in Oman. And we’re hoping that it will pick up because it has been pretty much dry for the last few months,” added Acharya.
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