About Oman [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Oman; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE

Climate

Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south

Terrain

Central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south

Elevation

lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m

Geo Notes

Strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Muscat and Oman

Capital City

name: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4

Administrative Divisions

5 regions (manatiq, singular - mintaqat) and 4 governorates* (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat) Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Buraymi*, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah, Az Zahirah, Masqat (Muscat)*, Musandam*, Zufar (Dhofar)*

Natuaral Hazards

Summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts

Environmental Issues

Rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural fresh water resources

Life Expectancy

total population: 73.97 years
male: 72.15 years
female: 75.88 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.34 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
total population: 1.23 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects

Religions Practiced

Ibadhi Muslim 75%, other (includes Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Hindu) 25%

Legal System

Based on English common law and Islamic law; ultimate appeal to the monarch; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National Holiday

Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)

Telephone System

general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems
international: country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2008)

Broadcast Media

1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen are accessible via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operation in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)

Background

The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries.

Economy Overview

Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources. Because of declining reserves, Muscat has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP to 9% by 2020. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy. By using enhanced oil recovery techniques, Oman succeeded in increasing oil production in 2009, giving the country more time to diversify. The drop in oil prices in 2008 and the global financial crisis reduced Oman's budget surplus in 2009 and slowed the pace of investment and development projects, but GDP growth still was positive, in part because Muscat implemented an expansionary fiscal policy.

National Anthem

name: "Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani" (The Sultan's Anthem)
lyrics/music: Rashid bin Uzayyiz al KHUSAIDI/James Frederick MILLS, arranged by Bernard EBBINGHAUS
note: adopted 1932; new words were written after QABOOS bin Said al Said gained power in 1970; the anthem was first performed by the band of a British ship as a salute to the Sultan during a 1932 visit to Muscat; the bandmaster of the HMS Hawkins was asked to write a salutation to the Sultan on the occasion of his visiting the ship

Oman location map
Size

total: 309,500 sq km
land: 309,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Oman flag
Population

2,967,717
note: includes 577,293 non-nationals (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani

Ethnic Groups

Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African

HIV/AIDS Rate

0.1% (2001 est.)

Independence Date

1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)

Government Type

Monarchy

Voting Rights

21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces are not allowed to vote

Internet Users

465,000 (2008)

Internet Hosts

9,114 (2010)

Internet Country Code

.om

Number Airports

130 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 11
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Number Heliports

3 (2010)

Roadways

total: 68,467 km
paved: 23,223 km (includes 1,384 km of expressways)
unpaved: 30,207 km (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Mina' Qabus, Salalah, Suhar

National Budget

revenues: $17.55 billion
expenditures: $19.32 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

-$2.143 billion (2009 est.)
$5.469 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar - 0.3845 (2009), 0.3845 (2008), 0.3845 (2007), 0.3845 (2006), 0.3845 (2005)

Inflation Rate

3.5% (2009 est.)
12.5% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber

Agricultural Products

Dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish

Labor Force

968,800
note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007)

Main Occupations

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment Rate

15% (2004 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$72.78 billion (2009 est.)
$71.35 billion (2008 est.)
$63.23 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$25,000 (2009 est.)
$25,000 (2008 est.)
$22,600 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Below Poverty

NA%