The Sultanate of Oman, one of GCC member who flourished when oil was discovered back to year 1956. Oman is one of Arab country that has beautiful landscape with surrounding mountains and deserts. With population a little over 3millions (July,2006), Oman economy has started rather slow to flourish comparing to it’s neighbour, UAE. This is due to Oman has only opened up his country to outside world after current ruler, Sultan Al Qaboos has come to power.
My trip to Oman was back to October 2006. Our visa is free because we entered from Qatar. Normally foreigners have to pay OMR7 for visa upon arrival. They do have money exchange counter right before immigration counter. So you can simply change your money into Omani Riyal. We chose to stay at Sheraton Ruwi because we managed to get corporate rate (OMR50++ per night) by using one of our customer’s account. Hotels in GCC countries roughly rather expensive. This is either due to limited hotels available.
Looking for potential customers here in Oman is about the same as Dubai because their economy has been controlled largely by expatriates mainly from India. But they have started to control this situation by making laws to urge companies to have like 70% local workers. It is advisable for you to rent a car to move around. Traffics in Muscat is not as bad as Dubai. So, you can afford to drive here. Taxis is generally expensive too as goverment only allow locals to drive taxis. Bargain is a must when taking taxi. Make sure you know the place you’re going to by asking maybe hotel receptions or having comprehensive maps. This is to avoid the taxi driver’s trick by pretending lost while on the way to your customer’s office. They will add up the fare from what you have agreed. So beware..!!
We stayed in Oman for 3 days. Most of the time meeting customers and at night we went over to their souq. Mutrah souq is a very old type of bazaar located in Mutrah. Price of good are reasonably cheap. as usual, your bargaining skills is important when visiting this places. I bought really nice quality Omani t-shirt at OMR1.5. Food is not an issue for us and generally cheap. As we were in Oman during Ramadan (Muslim fasting month) and we have got complimentary iftar (Break fasting). We only bought shawarma at Bz200 for our supper.
Language is a bit of problem in Oman as not many Omani can speak english. Out of 3 taxis only one can speak meagre english. But at business level, language should not be a problem as managerial positions has many expatriates who can speak english very well.