A dhow with tourists in Musandam, Oman
Day-trippers from the UAE hoping to escape to the summer heat to the hills of the Musandam Peninsula in Oman may be disappointed. Sharjah authorities at the border crossing in Dibba have tightened the rules on entering the country, complicating trip planning and making spontaneous visits essentially impossible.
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Border crossing authorities are now demanding that UAE residents entering Oman provide proof of booking with either a hotel or a dhow operator. Additionally, they must send copies of their passports and visas to the hotel or to the dhow or dive operator at least 48 hours in advance. The authorities say that they are merely enforcing a directive from the Ministry of the Interior.
However, the new rules throw a major wrench in the planning of the hundreds of UAE residents who enter Musandam annually. The Oman peninsula is a common destination for outdoor enthusiasts, who take advantage of the area’s hilly terrain and seaside location to go camping, hiking, climbing, and scuba diving. The region is especially popular in the cooler weather months.
Omani tourism operators active in the Musandam area are already suffering from the new restrictions. Hotels, as well as dhow and dive operators, report that the new rules make the paperwork involved in taking reservations overly complicated and burdensome. Some note that many visitors are unwilling to make copies of their passports and visas, considering these to be private documents. The rules make it impossible to take last-minute bookings, and the process becomes even more complicated for handling larger tour groups.
No visa is needed for UAE citizens to visit Oman.
Image credit: Eckard Pecher, Flickr
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