Travelling to Muscat on Business
Oman’s capital city Muscat is an increasingly popular destination for business travellers.
If you are going on a business trip to Muscat, it’s important to acquaint yourself with some of the local customs in advance.
Before You Go
Visitors to Oman with a valid UK passport can get the visa they need when they arrive in Oman. There are special Business Traveller visas for Oman, which cost 5 Omani Rials, or longer combined tourist and business visas.
It’s recommended that you visit your GP at least 8 weeks in advance of your trip to Oman. Find out if you need any vaccinations for your trip, and ensure you have a supply for any prescription medication you need, as well as copies of the prescriptions. Some medications available in the UK are banned substances in Oman.
Travel Insurance is also important for anyone going on a business trip to Oman. If you need medical assistance when you are in Oman, you may be stopped from leaving the country until you have paid your health costs.
Customs in Muscat
Oman is a traditional and conservative Islamic country, in which dress and good manners are essential.
Wearing the appropriate clothing is one of the most important aspects to fitting in with local customs in Muscat. When packing for Muscat, Men and women should include loose, long sleeved shirts and full length trousers for their trip. Women should cover their shoulders and arms and wear loose clothing, and it’s recommended that they keep a shawl in their bag in case hair needs covered. Trousers are a good option for women, as are skirts which come to at least below the knee. For men the dress codes are less strict, but again tight or short trousers should be avoided, as should T-shirts with any inappropriate designs on them. If you’re planning to relax by a beach or pool in Muscat, make sure you take items to cover up your bathing suit when you leave the water.
It’s important that visitors to Muscat are aware of their actions at all times, to ensure they don’t cause offense and are in line with the local laws and customs. Body language can be read differently in Oman than the Western world, and for that reason it’s advisable to avoid any public displays of affection, anger, bad language and keep hand signals minimal. Doing otherwise may get you into trouble with the local police and be punishable under Omani law. Homosexuality is illegal in Oman.
Alcohol can be purchased from licensed hotels and restaurants in Muscat. It is an offence to drink or be drunk in public, and the legal age for drinking alcohol is 21.
The normal form of greeting between male strangers in Muscat is a handshake, with close friends and relatives of both sexes kissing on either cheek. Members of the opposite sex generally do not touch in Oman, so if in doubt don’t offer your hand to someone.
The Muscat people are friendly and courteous, and welcoming to visitors. The official language in Muscat is Arabic, although many people also speak English, Hindi and Urdu.
What To Expect
If you are on a business trip to Muscat you will find yourself in a well situated city which has great business facilities and local attractions.
Conferences and business fairs in Muscat often take place in the city’s hotels, which generally offer great meeting rooms and professional facilities.
The stylish Park Inn by Radisson Muscat is close to the Muscat Grand Mall, the largest mall in Oman. This contemporary Arabic souk houses a host of international brands, enormous food and beverage outlets, and a state-of-the-art entertainment area. Our Muscat hotel has great facilities for visitors to relax in after meetings, like our rooftop swimming pool and fitness centre, and restaurants serving international and Arabic cuisine.
Take time to explore Muscat attractions, like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Royal Opera House Muscat, beautiful Al Ghubra beach, and the Old Muttrah Souk.
Expect to eat delicious local dates, fresh salads and vegetables, locally caught fish, fragrant breads, rice and spiced meat. Coffee fans should make sure they try Khawa – strong freshly roasted ground coffee flavoured with cardamom.
What’s your favourite Arabic delicacy?