Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced travel to a halt and slammed shut international borders, unprecedented reforms taking place in the Middle East will make travelling around the region easier than ever before, once the world opens up again.
Relaxed visa requirements, shifting politics, and new transport connections promise to draw more visitors to the region, which before the pandemic had the fastest-growing rate of international arrivals and double the global average, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.
Because of the pandemic and the piecemeal, country-by-country developments, this huge shift across the Middle East has gone mostly unnoticed.
Visitors from 103 countries, including the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States, no longer need a visa to visit Oman for two weeks, making the country more accessible, especially for those on a short trip. Oman’s previous policy required tourists to apply for a visa online for 5 Omani rials (about $13).
“This new change positions Oman on the global map and opens up numerous possibilities by making Oman reachable to a wider audience,” said Haitham al-Ghassani, acting director of Oman’s General Tourism Promotion. “Exemption from entry visas will promote the entire tourism industry. Tourists around the world can now quickly visit Oman without going through the hassle of a long visa process.”
Source: Civil Aviation Authority – Qatar