Minister of Tourism
HE Dr. Rajiha has been the Minister of Tourism for the Sultanate of Oman since 2004. Oman’s tourism sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, but the focus on development, following the creation of the new Ministry of Tourism in 2004, has been on sustainable growth leveraging the Sultanate’s rich cultural heritage.
Despite the impact of the recession on travel demand, Oman saw a year- on-year increase of 5.8% in international passenger arrivals in 2009, exceeding 2.5 million. The Ministry of Tourism is aiming to attract 12 million visitors per year by 2020, and is making significant investment into tourism infrastructure in order to achieve this target.
Projects include the expansion and modernisation of Muscat International Airport, which will increase handling capacity to 12 million passengers by 2014. There are also plans for new airports in other key destinations, including Salalah Airport which will have a capacity of one million passengers by 2013. In February this year, the newly expanded Port Sultan Qaboos passenger cruise ship terminal was inaugurated in Muscat leading to a huge surge of interest in Muscat as a cruise destination. Cruise passenger arrivals are expected to exceed 350,000 in 2010.