tourism oman india relations king emperor muscat attractions trade bilateral relations gulf indians nri workers migrants crude oil prices natural gas Sultan Qaboos
Actress Bipasha Basu with actor Karan Singh Grover during Bipasha Basu's pre-wedding mehendi ceremony in Mumbai on April 29, 2016 (representational image).IANS

The Sultanate of Oman said on Wednesday that it was aiming for a substantial increase in tourist arrivals from India this year, after a 17 percent rise in 2015 when about 3 lakh Indian travellers visited the country, including those Indians residing in other GCC countries. The country is promoting itself as a wedding destination to increase tourist arrivals from the South Asian country.

"From India, we have done at least two in the first quarter. We have got at least three weddings lined up in the next few months. The wedding season is between October and March," IANS quoted Lubaina Sheerazi, India representative of Oman's Tourism Ministry, as saying during a press conference in Kolkata.

Ten Indian weddings were organised in the Islamic country in the last two years.

Sheerazi said that Oman wanted to see higher growth in visits by Indians to the country.

"We are expecting a double-digit increase in tourists from India this and the next year. Oman received 2,99,022 Indian nationals in 2015, reflecting a 17 per cent increase over 2014. This also reflects a growth of 60 per cent in the number of Indians travelling to Oman in the last five years," Sheerazi said. 

To achieve the objective, the country will be adding one more destination to India.

"We have 11 flights to India and desire to make Kolkata the 12th," said Sunil VA, regional vice-president ISC at Oman Air.

Oman has a population of about 3 million people and the country's currency is rial. Qaboos Bin Said Al Said is the Sultan of Oman, in addition to being its prime minister and foreign minister since 1970. 

As for Omani nationals visiting India, they constituted 2.19 percent of the 6.70 lakh foreign tourists, in August 2016. 

tourism oman india relations king emperor muscat attractions trade bilateral relations gulf indians nri workers migrants crude oil prices natural gas Sultan Qaboos
The Indian community is the largest expatriate community in the Sultanate of Oman, according to the Indian diplomatic mission in the country. In Picture: Camels compete at the start of the annual camel race in the Flaija race court in the south of Muscat March 22, 2011.Reuters file