Oman is cautiously developing tourism, which was discouraged by previous rulers. All travelers except citizens of other Gulf states, must obtain a visa and a No Objection Certificate. Most large hotels have clubs that offer various recreational activities; water sports are popular, but spear fishing has been prohibited as a conservation measure. In 1998, 612,000 foreign tourists visited Oman, spending an estimated $112 million. There were 3,065 hotel rooms with 4,460 beds and a 49% occupancy rate in 1996.
According to 1999 UN estimates, the cost of staying in Muscat was $151 per day, and $156 per day in Salalah.