Oman

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Welcome to the Sultanate of Oman!

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

means welcome in Arabic but on a deeper level, it portrays the unique warmth and hospitality offered when opening the door and welcoming someone into your home.

Oman has inspired the imagination of intrepid travellers throughout the ages. Steeped in legend and mystery until the early seventies, it is perhaps one of the last genuinely unspoiled tourist destinations. It is a country the size of UK and Ireland, with an ancient 12,000 years-old civilization and a modern history.

Oman has been renowned for its traditional hospitality and geographic diversity. Dignity and respect are key in Omani culture.  It is a land of a myriad contrasts, where the old and the new jostle each other, where man and nature interact as they have done for millennia. This is Oman. A warm welcome awaits you.

 


Climate

The climate of Oman is considered a subtropical dry, hot desert climate with low annual rainfall, very high temperatures in summer with a significant variance between maximum and minimum temperatures, especially in the inland areas. Summer (June to September) has very low rainfall. Daily maximum temperatures can reach easily 40°C or more. Winter is cooler with occasional rainfall. Spring and autumn are warm, mostly dry and pleasant, with maximum temperatures between 25°C and 35°C and cooler night temperatures between 15 and 22°C. Most rain falls during the winter months in sudden, short but heavy cloudbursts and thunderstorms.

 


Dress Code

It is recommended to wear lightweight cottons and linens during summer months, with warm clothes for cooler evenings and during the winter. Both men and women should dress conservatively. Cover shoulders and upper arms, hemlines should reach the knee and pay attention to necklines. Swimwear should be restricted to the beach or pools.

Dress code will apply during the conference.

Official Currency and Banking

Omani Rial (OMR) equivalent OMR 1.00 = USD 2.60 = EUR 2.00 (approximately)

There are ATM’s situated throughout the country and the major banks are represented within Oman, many with 24hour ATM service.

Generally banking hours are 08:00am to 2:00pm.

Visa and MasterCard are widely issued and accepted, with American Express and Diners Club accepted to a lesser extent. If you withdraw cash from ATM’s using a credit card, expect to pay a fee.

 


Language and Culture

Arabic is the official language in Oman. English is widely spoken.

The most common greeting in the Gulf is A’Sallam Alekum (‘Peace be upon you’), to which the correct reply is Wa Alekum A’Sallam (‘and upon you be peace’). Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting; however it is preferable not to shake hands with the opposite sex. Avoid demonstrating acts of affection in public as you will cause offence and can be viewed as illegal.

Dignity and respect are key in Omani culture.

 


Tourism in Oman

One of the most attractive travel destinations in the Middle East located on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula with a coastline of 1,700km from the Strait of Hormuz in the north, to the borders of the Republic of Yemen in the South. Oman is known for its popular tourist attractions and they include beautiful beaches along its coast, high peak mountains, desert sands and wadi's, making Oman unique to its neighbouring GCC nations. Tourist activities include diving, snorkelling, sand skiing in the desert, mountain-climbing, camping, golfing, canyoning, caving, and camel racing.

Collecting seashells, abalone, corals, crayfish, and turtle eggs is prohibited.

The Sultanate encourages tourism and does not restrict photography in any city within the Sultanate, however 'No Photography' signs exist in certain places and must be observed.

Kindly respect local customs and sensitivities when taking photographs of Omani people. Visitors should ask permission before attempting to photograph people or their property.

 


Other Facts and Information

  • Capital: Muscat
  • Population: 4 million (80% Omanis, 20% Expats)
  • Local time: GMT +4 hours
  • Electricity: 220/240 volts AC requiring three-pin wall plugs
  • Cuisine: International and Traditional
  • Tipping: In restaurants, 10 to 15 percent where a service charge has not been added, otherwise 5 percent. Round up taxi fare by a couple of Rials.
  • Smoking: In Oman is prohibited in public places such as malls, offices, government buildings. However, smoking the traditional shisha (water pipe) is popular in local cafes.
  • International dialling code: +968
  • Emergency numbers: 9999

 

www.omantourism.gov.om