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Sat 21 Feb 2015 03:10 AM

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Oman to showcase $3.3bn tourism plans as visitors set to rise

More than 1.1 million tourist arrivals are expected in Oman this year, up by 3% on 2014

Oman to showcase $3.3bn tourism plans as visitors set to rise
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Oman is set to showcase tourism project worth $3.3 billion at the annual Arabian Travel Market in May as the sultanate looks to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon receipts.

More than 1.1 million tourist arrivals are expected in Oman this year, up by 3 percent on 2014, with tourism receipts reaching $2.24 billion, up by 5 percent year-on-year.

And with the title of top destination for 2015 from Skift, the world’s largest global travel industry intelligence firm, in its pocket, the country is looking to expand its tourism offering.

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, 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.

Exhibitors from the Sultanate at ATM 2015, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on May 4-7, include the Oman Ministry of Tourism, which is participating with a 280-square metre stand and Oman Air taking more than 82 square metres of space.

“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 Business Monitor International, Asia will be the largest market for inbound travel with strong potential for future growth with arrivals set to increase by 37.3 percent 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 percent growth in the guest numbers in December against the previous year and total year-on-year revenue growth of 10.3 percent.

Last year ATM saw total attendance increase by 12 percent with 33,000 participants, from more than 131 countries and business deals signed worth more than $ 2.1 billion over the four days.

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