The World Economic Forum recently published their Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 which is chock-full of data from 141 nations and how they rank against each other for travel. Oliver Smith from The Telegraph wrote an article a few days ago titled: “Mapped: The world’s safest countries – Saudi Arabia and Rwanda beat the UK.” In this article Mr. Smith points out the 62 other nations that beat out the United Kingdom in the Safety and Security section of the report. The Sultanate of Oman with a ranking of nine, is one of them. I’ve been saying it for years, “Oman is the safest country to visit,” here’s why.
1. Sultan Qaboos
His Majisty Sultan Qaboos rose to power in a bloodless coup against his father, Sultan Said bin Taimur, in 1970. Since this time H.M. set out on a path of unifying the nation through modernization using the country’s oil wealth.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the sultan; already brewing at the time of his crowning was the Dhofar Rebellion in the southern region of Oman. I am sure Oman wasn’t the safest country to visit at this time; but since then, under the leadership of His Majisty Sultan Qaboos, Oman has enjoyed peaceful times inside and outside it’s borders.
I like to call Oman the Switzerland of the Middle East. The sultan knows a cool head will prevail with international diplomacy. Just look at the recent conflicts in the region, Oman’s military has stayed out of all of them. However, this doesn’t mean Oman is totally out of the picture. Behind the scenes Sultan Qaboos and his ministers are negotiating resolutions that some nations cannot seem to do on their own. The Iran nuclear deal between the western powers and Iran is a good example. Essentially, this deal was facilitated and hosted by Sultan Qaboos and his ministers.
I do not believe Oman would be the safest country to visit if there was no oil. The sale of oil brings in money to the country, which then goes to immense social programs and public works. Healthcare and education are essentially free, and unemployment is very low. Having a steady flow of oil allowed Oman to modernize with little struggle.
Some 70 percent of Omanis practice the Ibadi denomination of Islam. Ibadism is known to be conservativly-moderate and tolerant, and it’s exactly what you will find here. Sunni, Shia, and Ibadi pray together in the same mosques, side-by-side. Extremism and immoral acts are not tolerated by the government or the people.
Oman has a small population of just about four million people, which is an important factor into why Oman is safest country to visit. Four million people are a lot easier to keep happy and employed than if the population were much greater.
The Royal Omani Police round out the reasons why Oman is the safest country to visit. They are honest, reliable, capable, and omnipresent. I think you can get a lot of insight about a nation through interactions with it’s law enforcement officers. Some nations have corrupt officers who you can pay off, others have overbearing officers who infringe on people’s rights. Neither is true about Oman; they do their job professionally and otherwise stay out of the way.
Oman: the Safest Country to Visit in the World
So, there you have it. Five reasons why Oman is the safest country to visit. The World Economic Forum ranks Oman ninth for safety and security, but I might be biased. You’ll just have to see for yourself.