Visa fee hike leaves tour operators in Oman in limbo

Tour operators were caught on the hop after the short stay visa fee for tourists was quadrupled. According to new rules which came into effect on Sunday, tourists must now pay OMR20 for a month-long tourist visa. Before Sunday, visitors could buy a 10-day visa for OMR5.

“When there is tourism promotion going on and you hike the fee like this, it is not going to help tourism,” so said Subi Prabhakar, CEO of Travel Point, a major tour operator in the region. Vikram Loomba, Hospitality and Leisure Director at PwC, a tourism industry analyst, is of a different opinion saying “If we consider the generally upscale profile of leisure travellers to Oman and their average length of stay, the increased cost per person per day is affordable. From such a perspective, it is a good move that is likely to boost government revenues”

But he also conceded that “the millennials, back-packers, all-inclusive and other price-conscious travellers may be influenced to consider other options. Even travel agents and tour operators who work on low margins could be impacted. This step could further polarize the profile of tourists to Oman as luxury travellers”

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