MUSCAT: The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) road show series has kicked off with Oman. The event was held at The Chedi Muscat wherein officials met with key industry players to discuss how to optimise Oman’s tourism development showcase at this year’s ATM.
Exhibitors from the Sultanate at ATM 2015, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 4-7, include the Oman Ministry of Tourism, which is participating with a 280-square metre pavilion and Oman Air taking more than 82 square metres of space.
With more than $3.3 billion worth of high profile tourism projects currently under development in the Sultanate, the country is rapidly expanding its existing tourism offering with luxury brand leaders set to make their hospitality debut and a number of important tourism and cultural projects also nearing completion.
“The Omani government is focused on plans to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon receipts and the country’s diverse geography, its improved land, air and sea infrastructure as well as its position as an under-exploited tourism destination, has helped secure significant regional and overseas investment,” said Nadege Noblet, Exhibition Manager.
According to market intelligence from MEED, the list of projects planned or underway in Oman includes four museums/libraries, 24 hotels and resorts, six malls/shopping centres, one theatre, five sports stadia/leisure complexes, a theme park and four convention centres.
Of the top 10 projects currently under development in the country, which have a total investment value of just over $3.3 billion, luxury hospitality is a major focus with Westin, St Regis and W all taking shape, as well as the new $200 million Ritz-Carlton — The Muscat Reserve, and the high-end mixed-use Saraya Bandar Jissah Resort (managed by Jumeirah Group), valued at $840 million.
Supporting infrastructure development projects include the long awaited Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, built at a cost of $560 million, and the Al Futtaim Group’s $468 million Mall of Oman.
“BMI forecasts 1.14 million tourist arrivals to Oman thus year, up by 3 per cent on 2014 with tourism receipts reaching $2.24 billion, up by 5 per cent year-on-year; and with the delivery of high profile projects such as the Oman Convention Centre and Saraya Bandar Jissah Resort pegged for 2016 and 2017 respectively, the country’s key tourism players are shaping a unique premium destination in the region,” said Noblet.
In its Oman Tourism Report Q2 2015, BMI also highlights Asia as the largest market for inbound travel with strong potential for future growth with arrivals set to increase by 37.3 per cent between 2014 and 2018.
According to official data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Oman’s four and five-star hotels saw a pick-up in guest room nights and revenues in 2014 with the Sultanate recording 26.1 per cent growth in the guest numbers in December against the previous year and total year-on-year revenue growth of 10.3 per cent rising from RO 150.486 million to RO 165.970 million.
Oman is one of four Middle East destinations being visited by the ATM team during its weeklong roadshow, which takes place in Qatar, Riyadh and Dubai.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER