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Oman has eased its visa requirements for tourists from India, China and Russia following a similar strategy its Gulf neighbors have implemented to attract travelers from the global market.
“All passengers from India, China and Russia, who reside in or hold an entry visa to one of the following countries (United States of America, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Schengen states) are allowed to obtain non-sponsored tourist visa to enter Oman as per the applied terms and conditions of the authorities,” a statement from the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said.
The non-sponsored tourist visa, at 20 Omani rials (SR195) and valid for one month, also allows holders to bring with them their spouses and children during their stay in Oman. They however must obtain return tickets and confirmed hotel reservations before they are issued the visas.
Oman is currently digitizing its visa issuance system on expectations the faster issuance of e-visas for 67 countries would encourage further growth in visitor arrivals.
The Gulf state received 3 million visitors last year, up from 2.47 million a year earlier, helped by a surge in arrivals from India at 297,628. Muscat recently launched its first ever India-specific brand campaign to promote the country as a prime experience-driven destination for those coming from the subcontinent.
Oman’s neighbor UAE has been experiencing a boom in tourism after earlier allowing visitors from Russia and China to obtain visas on arrival. Indian passport holders with EU or UK residency visas to were also given access to visas on arrival to the UAE, as well as those holding American visas or Green Cards.
Qatar meanwhile last month announced visa-free entry for the citizens of 33 countries for a period of 90 days within a 180-day time span, while nationals from 47 other countries can stay in Qatar for up to 30 days.
Both 30-day and 90-day visa holders are eligible for multiple entries to the country.
Bahrain meanwhile earlier adopted new single-entry visa and one-year multiple re-entry e-visa policies, which allows visitors on single-entry visas to stay in the kingdom for up to two weeks.
Holders of one-year re-entry visas meanwhile are allowed to stay for period of up to 90 days.
Manama also expanded the number of countries whose citizens can avail of visa-on-arrival facilities to 67, including some European and Central and South American states.