Destination Guide: Oman
C&IT's sponsored guide to Oman will help you find the most exciting hotels, venues, restaurants and incentive ideas when planning your next event.
The Sultanate of Oman is the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula, with the United Arab Emirates dividing a small section in the northernmost tip of the country. Oman’s entire east coast is fringed by the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and its land neighbours include Yemen to the south, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on its western border.
The Sultanate of Oman offers its visitors stunning scenery, friendly local hospitality and excellent hotels. But it also offers something much more elusive, an authentic Arabian experience.
Oman offers around 5,000 years of history. This is a real place offering real experiences – not a playground built out of a desert but a country that has grown up over thousands of years of history and tradition.
Oman also boasts staggering scenery – it has a 3165km coastline on the Indian Ocean, stunning mountain backdrops and desert landscapes.
Meanwhile, with its bustling souks, tranquil beaches, historic forts and stylish hotels, the capital city Muscat offers event organisers plenty to choose from. The ideal treasure trail!
Weather: From October to April, winter is cooler with occasional rainfall. Spring and autumn are warm, mostly dry, with maximum temperatures between 25C and 35C and evenings between 15C and 22C. Summer temperatures range from 40C on the coastline to 35C in the mountains.
Currency: Omani Rial (OR). £1 = OMR 0.6
Time: GMT +4
Language: Arabic and English
Visa: British passport holders can obtain a visa upon arrival. For those staying for up to 10 days, a non-extendable visa costs OMR5 (£8.25). Cruise arrival visas are free for up to 24 hours, or OMR5 for multiple visits. A one-month combined tourist/business visa costs OMR20 (£33). This can be extended for one month, for an additional OMR20.
Muscat International Airport is the main gateway and is located up to 40 minutes from most major hotels. Oman Air operates daily non-stop, direct flights from Heathrow to Muscat, and BA operates daily direct flights, while Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Gulf Air are among the other airlines operating to Muscat.
The new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, due for completion in 2016, is set to become an iconic landmark for Muscat and the Sultanate of Oman. Located in its own precinct, this world-class facility is perfectly suited to host international, regional and national conventions, exhibitions and business events. Amongst its features are a tiered auditorium seating 3,200 people and more than 22,000 square metres of exhibition space. All hotels have meeting and event facilities, ballrooms and restaurants, ranging from a full-functioning theater at the Al Bustan to an auditorium in the Shangri-la. The Royal Opera house and grounds are available for hire on request.
Oman’s hotel stock is growing and a number of key international chains operate in the destination alongside boutique properties. Prominent hotels include: Al Bustan Place Ritz Carlton; Grand Hyatt Muscat; Shangri La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa; The Chedi Muscat; Crowne Plaza Muscat; InterContinental; Salalah Rotana Resort; Marriot Resort Salalah.
Watersports, tented desert adventures and mountain activities abound- from serious adrenaline thrills to more sedate explorations of its extraordinary natural assets, there is a lot on offer. Take your pick from caving, mountain biking, horse-riding and off-roading inland, or head out onto the water for fishing, diving, sailing and Dhow cruises.
DMCs operating in Oman include: 1001 Events, Bahwan Tours, Gulf Dunes, Elite Travel & tourism, The Vision, Gulf Ventures, National Travel & Tourism, Net Tours Oman, Promo Oman, SNTTA and Zahara Tours.
Despite challenges including a freak sandstorm, Colt Technology Services' Inner Circle incentive programme in Oman proved to be an inspirational experience.
C&IT's Venue of the Week is the spectacular Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel, 2,000m above sea level in the mountains of Oman.