Oman Travel Information

Photo In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al Said ousted his father and has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world and has preserved a long-standing political and military relationship with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries.

PEOPLE

About 50% of the population lives in Muscat and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital; about 200,000 live in the Dhofar (southern) region, and about 30,000 live in the remote Musandam Peninsula on the Strait of Hormuz. Some 600,000 expatriates live in Oman, most of whom are guest workers from South Asia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Philippines.

HISTORY

Oman adopted Islam in the seventh century A.D., during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibadhism, a form of Islam distinct from Shiaism and the "Orthodox" schools of Sunnism, became the dominant religious sect in Oman by the eighth century A.D. Oman is the only country in the Islamic world with a majority Ibadhi population. Ibadhism is known for its "moderate conservatism." One distinguishing feature of Ibadhism is the choice of ruler by communal consensus and consent.

ECONOMY

When Oman declined as an entrepot for arms and slaves in the mid-19th century, much of its former prosperity was lost, and the economy turned almost exclusively to agriculture, camel and goat herding, fishing, and traditional handicrafts. Today, oil fuels the economy and revenues from petroleum products have enabled Oman's dramatic development over the past 30 years.

U.S.-OMANI RELATIONS

The United States has maintained relations with the Sultanate since the early years of American independence. A treaty of friendship and navigation, one of the first agreements of its kind with an Arab state, was concluded between the United States and Muscat in 1833. This treaty was replaced by the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights signed at Salalah on December 20, 1958.

Important: Travel to Oman may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Oman visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Sultanate of Oman
Capital city: Muscat
Area: 309,500 sq km
Population: 3,090,150
Ethnic groups: Arab, Baluchi, South Asian
Languages: Arabic
Religions: Ibadhi Muslim
Government: monarchy
Chief of State: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said
Head of Government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said
GDP: 85 billion
GDP per captia: 27,600
Annual growth rate: 5.4%
Inflation: 4.1%
Agriculture: dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables
Major industries: crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas
Natural resources: petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
Trade Partners - exports: China 30.2%, South Korea 10.9%, UAE 10.6%, Japan 10.4%, India 9.2%, Thailand 5.3%, US 4.6%
Trade Partners - imports: UAE 27.7%, Japan 11.9%, US 6.1%, India 5.4%, China 4.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.1%, Germany 4%