$1b to boost business tourism in Oman
By staff - Mon Jun 27, 6:44 am
Oman Conference and Exhibition Centre in Muscat to establish Oman as an all-around business, leisure and lifestyle destination.
Oman has long positioned itself as a laid-back destination that boasts an array of cultural, physical and historical attractions, including forts and mountainous landscapes.
Now the sultanate is adding a new plank to its tourism strategy as it plans to target the conference, trade show and events sector, worth an estimated US$300 billion (Dh1.1 trillion) a year globally.
Oman is in the process of setting up a government department as part of the tourism ministry, to focus on bringing in major exhibitions. At the beginning of this year work started on a $1bn conference and exhibition centre in Muscat.
It is hoped this vast facility, to include hotels, a shopping mall, a business park and an auditorium, will attract more business travellers as Oman aims for the travel and tourism sector to become an increasingly important part of its economy.
Tourism related activity in Oman is expected to contribute 9.2 per cent of the economy’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020, according to a report by the World Travel Tourism Council.
This new growth is embodied by the construction of the new $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) Oman Conference and Exhibition Centre in Muscat.
The MICE venue is scheduled for completion in 2014 and is expected to transform Oman into a key destination for major business events in the region.
“The development of the convention centre in Muscat forms part of our efforts to establish Oman as an all-around business, leisure and lifestyle destination,” said Salem Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotions, Oman Ministry of Tourism. “By building up our MICE offerings we grow closer to tourism targets that we have specifically aligned under the Oman 2020 economic vision.”
Oman has already approved the spending of around $8 billion on tourism-related property developments across the country with the Ministry of Tourism aiming to draw in around 12 million visitors a year by 2020.