No room at the inn in Muscat

Johnston: Shortage of suitable accommodation is our biggest concern

Spokesperson Alison Johnston, director of sales and marketing for Desert Thunder Travel & Tourism, Oman

How has business been over the past year?
Desert Thunder Travel & Tourism has seen a marked increase in business over the last 12 months as we only started operations in October 2006.  We receive many requests for both our sea adventures and our land adventures and have worked with a number of television travel programmes from the UK, Netherlands, USA and Australia, so there will be significant publicity about us in all of these markets over the next six months.
Our core business is currently coming from the UK and Benelux markets.

Do you have any expansion plans?
At the moment we are focusing on the business we already have to maximise the usage of our boats and vehicles, however, longer term we would hope to acquire additional VIP yachts for our more discerning clients and are also looking to expand into tented five star camping in prime scenic locations in Oman.

How much of your business is carried out on the internet now?
About 80 per cent of our business is currently coming through the internet, both from our own website and from an alliance Desert Thunder has with another travel website.

What are the biggest problems facing you this year?
Our main problem this year/season has been a shortage of four and five star hotel rooms in peak season in Muscat (from November to April). There have been some bookings that we have been unable to take due to a lack of suitable accommodation, and some regions of Oman that we would like to take our clients to but again can’t get accommodation for them, so have to drop that region from the itinerary.