Oman to issue tourist visas after 8-month suspension

Travelers whose trips are organized through hotels or tourism companies can apply for visas.

al-monitor Omanis, wearing protective face masks, sit on the corniche in the capital, Muscat, on Oct. 12, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.  Photo by MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP via Getty Images.

Dec 1, 2020

Oman will issue tourist visas to certain categories of travelers after an eight-month pause, state media reported, as the Gulf country aims to revitalize its coronavirus-battered economy.   

“The Supreme committee decided to allow the issuance of tourist visas to enter the sultanate, provided that the arrival of tourists is within the framework of tourist groups organized by hotels and tourism companies,” the Oman News Agency reported Monday. 

Oman’s tourism industry has taken a beating since the country stopped issuing visas in March. Revenues of three- to five-star hotels were down 60% by the end of October, and the number of hotel guests had fallen by 54%, the Times of Oman reported. 

The Supreme Committee also announced it was easing a number of other coronavirus restrictions beginning Tuesday. Bowling alleys, movie theaters, parks and restaurants in commercial complexes are among the businesses that can now open their doors. 

The latest loosening of COVID-19 curbs comes after Oman resumed a limited number of international flights in October. Last month, the Omani government reopened the country’s land borders with neighboring countries to citizens and residents traveling to or from the sultanate and who have passed a series of COVID-19 tests.

Oman is reporting a steady decline in new coronavirus cases. The Health Ministry registered 209 new cases Tuesday, down from the 1,000 or more single-day spikes this summer. The total case count in Oman has now reached 123,908 since late February, with a death toll of 1,430. 

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