Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Oman hotel licence limits signal ‘desire to enhance quality’

Oman hotel restrictions Omani women enjoy the sea view from a hotel lobby in the newly developed property, Al Mouj Muscat Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
The Al Mouj Muscat hotel opened 2019: the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism in Oman has imposed restrictions on new hotels in the Muscat governorate
  • Clampdown in Muscat
  • Hotel guests up 30%
  • Occupancy rates up 9%

The decision by Oman to impose restrictions on new hotel developments across the sultanate demonstrates a focus on quality over quantity, an industry analyst says.

From February 1, Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism will not accept any requests for new hotels in the Muscat governorate, aside from Quriyat and Al Amerat. Applications for hotel apartments in Salalah will also be refused.

It is understood Oman’s hotel restrictions have been introduced to tackle the current imbalance in hotel accommodation in the country.

“By putting a temporary hold on new hotel licences, the Omani authorities may be signalling a desire to enhance the quality and competitiveness of existing accommodations, rather than increasing numbers,” said Dr Sean Lochrie, assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

There were 674 hotels in Oman in 2022, the most recent government statistics show.

In 2016 Oman launched a 25-year strategy to increase the number of tourists visiting the country more than fourfold, from 2.6 million in 2015 to 11.7 million a year by 2040.

It wants to increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s GDP to 6 percent, from 2.6 percent, by building new hotels and promoting destination “clusters”.

“Existing establishments may witness increased demand, while innovative strategies may be required to enhance service quality and maintain international competitiveness,” Lochrie said.

In July last year the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism approved 19 licences for integrated tourism complexes, with 81 hotel facilities totalling more than 16,500 rooms and 42,600 housing units, worth around RO4.376 billion ($11.33 billion).

Projects in Muscat, Dhofar, South Al Sharqiyah, South Al Batinah and Musandam were also agreed.

The number of hotel guests in Oman increased by 30.3 percent to 1.88 million in the first 11 months of 2023, from 1.45 million in the same period a year before.

Occupancy rates were up 9 percent year on year.

Latest articles

Nature, Outdoors, Sea

Luxury hotel revenues in Oman rise to $242m

Oman’s luxury hotels continued to make money in April as the number of guests surged. The revenue of three- to five-star hotels rose 11 percent year on year to OMR93 million ($242 million), the state-run Oman News Agency said, quoting the National Centre for Statistics and Information data. The revenue increase was driven by a […]

A stall holder in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. People in Istanbul faced rises in the cost of living this year, as soaring inflation impacted wages

Cairo and Istanbul feel biggest cost of living squeeze

Dubai has become the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriate workers, while Cairo and Istanbul were among the cities that saw the biggest rise in the cost of living this year, as soaring inflation impacted wages. Dubai, the UAE’s largest city, saw rental prices rise by about a fifth in the last […]

More than 24 million people visited the World Expo event at Expo City Dubai between October 2021 and March 2022

Construction begins at Expo City Dubai site

Construction has begun on the first residential properties at Expo City Dubai, part of a mixed-use master plan to repurpose the legacy site after the world fair came to a close two years ago. Master developer Expo City Dubai announced last week that it has awarded four key contracts for its Mangrove Residences. UAE-based USF […]

Saudi housing costs rose nearly 9% year on year in May

Saudi housing costs rise but inflation remains steady

Housing costs in Saudi Arabia rose nearly 9 percent year on year in May, but it was not enough to push overall inflation in the kingdom over 2 percent. The latest data from the General Authority for Statistics showed the annual inflation rate in Saudi Arabia was 1.6 percent in May, having remained at this […]