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Mon 9 Dec 2013 01:59 PM

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Oman ramps up tourist pitch to lucrative Asia market

Tourism chief says Oman is targeting growth from markets such as China, Japan and Korea

Oman ramps up tourist pitch to lucrative Asia market

Oman is ramping up its tourism pitch in countries such as China, Japan and Korea as it tries to cash in on the billion-dollar Asian outbound tourism market.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation 2013 annual report, tourists from China and Japan spent $102bn and $27.9bn respectively in 2012 on holidays abroad, with Chinese tourists topping the international tourism spend that year.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, HE Maitha bint Saif al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Tourism, said Oman was targeting potential tourism markets and had 10 offices representing 14 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Gulf.

“We have found that there is a huge tourism potential from China, Japan and Korea,” she was quoted as saying. “We are studying these markets at this stage and will soon have a strategy to tap tourists from these countries.”

Al Mahrouqi said that the US was also on the radar and was working closely with national carrier Oman Air.

“Hopefully, we can have a public relations office to study the potential. That’s what the strategy is going to be,” she said. “These are big markets, we have to do it gradually, we need to have a connection with the aviation sector in terms of how tourists can get here.”

She said that the ministry was promoting Oman as a business destination. “We are promoting the country as an investment destination in oil, mining and transport sectors,” she said. “We usually combine that while promoting the country as a tourist destination.”

The Sultanate had a lot to offer to tourists, she said.

“It depends who we are targeting,” she said. “We have positioned ourselves depending on market requirements. There are some markets where people are looking for niche tourism and we are marketing ourselves accordingly. There are some countries in Europe where tourists want to explore the culture and heritage of the place they are visiting. Oman has a lot to offer in terms of culture and heritage. These are our focus areas.”

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