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Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: How many airports does Oman have?

A: There are some big changes going on in the tourism world in Oman and much of it centers on airports. Right now foreign travellers arriving by air fly into the country’s international airport in the capital of Muscat. The Seeb International Airport which opened back in 1973 is getting a new name next month (it’ll be known as the Muscat International Airport), and is also undergoing major renovations with the first phase scheduled for completion by 2011.

The country’s biggest airport services Oman Air along with over 20 international airlines including Egypt Air, British Airways, Lufthansa and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines according to the Oman Ministry of Tourism.

The other airport is the Salalah International Airport which opened in 1977. Back then it only handled domestic flights from Muscat. Today, Salalah has become an attractive tourist destination among Europeans and consequently there are direct seasonal charter flights available from Europe to this southern region.

There are eight other smaller airports in Khasab, Sur, Al Koude, Buraimi, and Marmul to name a few. In addition, Oman is planning to build three new domestic airports to boost the tourism industry in the Gulf Arab state. The new airports will be built in the country's southern towns of Adam, Haima and Shaleem, economy minister Ahmad Mekki told a news conference recently. "This will help the tourism sector," said Darwish Al-Balushi, secretary general of the Ministry of Finance.

Mekki said the government has allocated 17-million rials ($43.86-million) for consultancy studies, design and supervision of the proposed airports.

GAP Adventures (www.gapadventures.com; toll-free 1-800-708-7761) offers a couple of Oman travel packages: a 7-day Arabian Seatrek and the 8-days Oman Desert Adventures. Trek Escapes currently has several trips planned for this part of the world. Choose from a 9-day Arabian Nights package to a 15-day Sultanate of Oman trip.

For more details visit them at www.trekescapes.com or call toll-free 1.866.338.TREK. For more details visit the Oman Ministry of Tourism online at http://www.omantourism.gov.om/

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