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Published on : Thursday, February 14, 2013
Muscat was the penultimate destination for the ATM 2013 road show, which took place in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Previous road show locations included Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon with the final event taking place in the UAE.
The Sultanate of Oman is taking a 360-degree look at its tourism product as government investment and private sector interest raises the profile of the country’s diverse geography with a raft of pipeline projects underway from Khasab to Salalah.
“The Omani government has allocated US$39 million to develop tourism sites in Dhofar province this year, as the annual Khareef (monsoon) season attracts increasing numbers of local, regional and international visitors. This shift of focus outside of the capital, Muscat, is a clear sign that the Sultanate is powering ahead with a well thought-out and diversified plan for tourism growth,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Muscat International Airport’s new multi-million dollar terminal is set to open next year, with the capacity to handle 12 million passengers per annum, with the potential for a projected 48 million passengers upon completion of its long term phased expansion programme. To the south of the country, new tourism hotspot Salalah is also preparing for one million passengers each year once it debuts its upgraded airport in 2008.
Both Qatar Airways and Oman Air are launching new services from Salalah in 2013, with the airport recording a 23% rise in passenger traffic to 629,000 travellers in 2012 against 2011.
Oman will have a strong presence at ATM this year. Major exhibitors include the Oman Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air.
Hotel room capacity in the country is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% over the period 2011 to 2016 and the Sultanate currently has approximately 5,331 rooms – or 7% of GCC expected supply – under development, with some 2,000 hotel rooms ready for business by the end of 2013, according to the Ministry of Tourism.