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Tourism growth to continue in Oman

By staff - Mon Mar 12, 10:40 am

By Elizabeth Broomhall

Oman’s tourism industry is likely to see continued growth in the year ahead, attracting a wave of hoteliers and investors eyeing low risk, emerging markets, a report by Euromonitor International has said.

Tourism related projects, which remain on track in the Gulf state, will help it edge closer to its target of 12m visitors by 2020, with key developments including the construction of new airports in Sohar and Duqm and a number of new hotel resorts according to the research.

“With a proven track record in reforms and developments, Oman is likely to see continued positive growth in tourism arrivals,” wrote Euromonitor’s travel and tourism analyst Nadejda Popova in the report.

“More hotels are likely to target Oman, as global chains revise their strategies to stay away from high risk markets and make the most out of emerging destinations such as Oman. Given the country’s on-going safety and stability, investors will continue to demonstrate an interest in this market.”

She added that Oman, which currently attracts just 3m tourists per year, would benefit greatly from the completion of new hotels and resorts, which were key to the market’s growth by providing travel accommodation.

Whilst some 1,400 new rooms were made available to visitors in 2011, several outlets are being planned for completion within the next 5-10 years, including a large pool of luxury 4 and 5-star hotels being developed by companies such as Orascom Development Holding.

Other projects such as the Wave, Muscat Hills and Muriya would help boost the number of visitor attractions and facilities, the report said, whilst the government’s strategy of targeting GCC and BRIC markets would continue to be important in order to attract high spenders from emerging and growing economies.

However, Popova warned that the growth in the sector could be slowed by the regional unrest, which is affecting all of the region as visitors from Europe remain vary of Middle Eastern markets.

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