By Staff writer
Tourism chiefs also target lucrative MICE market with recent opening of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre
Oman, which was rated among the top destinations to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet, is targeting 25,000 more hotel rooms by 2020.
It is also strengthening its position as a leading MICE destination with the recent opening of the largest convention centre in the region, tourism bosses have said.
The Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) offers 1,100 hotel rooms while the addition of new hotels – including the Anantara in Salalah and Jebel Akhdar – is expected to add significantly to the sultanate’s room inventory by 2020.
Other hotels in the pipeline include the 290-room W Hotel Muscat and 310-room Kempinski Hotel Muscat.
Salem Al Mamari, director general, Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Tourism, Oman said: “Oman already has strong brand recognition as a leading leisure destination in the Middle East, and we are also seeing a steady growth in the MICE market – driven by infrastructure developments across the sultanate.
"Additionally, the opening of the convention centre six months ago is already encouraging corporates and events organisers to consider Oman as a destination for large scale conferences and exhibitions. As we look to achieve our target of attracting of five million international visitors by 2040, MICE will remain a key part of the visitor mix.”
Travel and tourism contributes a significant amount to the GDP of Oman. Oman’s National Tourism Strategy for 2040 has set out an ambitious target of ensuring that the tourism sector contributes 6-10 percent of GDP in the future.
The sultanate also hopes to employ over 500,000 people in the tourism sector in 25 years with 70 percent of these jobs filled by Omani nationals.