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Published on : Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Oman is set to become a major regional centre for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) following the establishment of a new Oman Convention Bureau by the Ministry of Tourism, Oman.
Explaining the new initiative, Salim Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion – Ministry of Tourism, Oman says, “The Ministry of Tourism is fully committed towards enhancing the MICE sector in Oman to help the Sultanate achieve its potential to be a first class destination for this sector. Our Tourism Strategy for 2040 has MICE as a major pillar for the future to help us grow and enhance the industry. “The objective of the Bureau is to support the international and local organizations in hosting their events and cater to their requirements. The main aim is to promote Oman as an ideal destination for the MICE tourism sector”
The Ministry has appointed its esteemed Director, Khalid Al Zadjali, to become the Managing Director of the new Oman Convention Bureau. He says, “The Ministry’s initiative in establishing the Bureau under its supervision is an important milestone in building the solid foundations that will help us achieve our objectives in the MICE tourism sector in the future. “We will enhance this sector and regulate the processes to ensure the smoothest experience for organisations wishing to host events in Oman and actively promote what Oman has to offer to the MICE market internationally.”
In practical terms, the MICE area will receive a significant boost in 2016 with the scheduled opening of the Oman Convention Centre in Muscat in the last quarter of this year. The convention centre will include state of the art theatres, conference rooms and four hotels with almost 1000 rooms along with major exhibition halls that can cater to tens of thousands of people at one time.
The sector will also be boosted by the ongoing expansions and enhancement of Muscat International Airport that will initially increase capacity to 12 million passengers a year arriving in a modern new terminal and with capacity to expand to take up to 48 million passengers a year.
Oman’s tourism sector is enjoying substantial growth and Mr. Al Mamari added, “The tourism industry in Oman is growing at a rapid rate. We saw a 17.7 per cent increase in visitor numbers in 2015 alone taking annual numbers to 2.4 million. Tourism is set to be one of the key pillars for economic growth in the Sultanate in the coming decades and that means ensuring that we have a plentiful supply of quality hotel rooms for our guests from around the world.”
The ambitious new tourism strategy for Oman plans to grow international visitor numbers to 5.3 million by 2040.