Emerging Oman: Tourism, aviation strategy
By staff - Thu Jun 28, 10:23 pm
Omani Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air hand work hand in hand in promoting higher travel, holiday standards.
Middle East Online
By Dr. Hussein Shehadeh – MUSCAT
For higher standards
It’s certainly great news for the Sultanate, which should bring joy to all citizens. According to Maitha Bint Saif Al Mahrouqiyah, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, latest tourism indicators show that the Sultanate leads with 75 per cent of tourism activities in the GCC. She also disclosed that the GCC tourism market contributed about 27 per cent to the growth of the Omani tourism sector. All this proves that the government has adopted the right strategy in promoting tourism in the country and that its strategies for the long term will also yield rich dividends. It is a fact that tourism is growing with each passing year and the projections for growth in the coming years are also encouraging.
The government of Oman has been giving a lot of stress to the development of tourism. The first priority was to develop a strong infrastructure. That task has been undertaken on a massive scale in the course of the last seven five-year plans. The current plan too is laying great emphasis on the tourism sector. As a result of all this encouragement, there are hotels of every kind offering maximum luxury. The countless restaurants, offering almost every type of cuisine in every corner of Muscat , also provide ample proof of this point.
In other parts of the country too, this is the case. Sites of interest to tourists in all areas of the country have also been maintained well. Being an ancient country, Oman also has to offer a lot in terms of history. Ancient castles, palaces and forts dot the land and they no doubt are major attractions. Government policies that have made the country tourism friendly are another reason for the flurry of visitors. Even in Salalah, venue of the Salalah Tourism Festival, a lot has been achieved but there is no doubt that more has to be done to ensure that the traffic of domestic, regional and international tourists goes up in the coming years.
The reasons for the Sultanate’s leading position in tourism activities in the GCC are not far to seek. In fact, Oman has a lot to offer, the most important being the country’s scenic beauty. Muscat can be cited as a case in point. With the azure sea on one side and the majestic Al Hajar Mountains on the other, Muscat is a tourist’s paradise. The tourism department must also be given credit for packaging the Sultanate and selling it in an attractive way.
The Omani National Carrier plays a significant role in promoting tourism to Oman from many parts of the Globe.
Oman Air participates in Expo 2012, from May to August 2012, at Yeosu in Korea.
Expo 2012 Yeosu is a world fair with a focus on the importance of balancing the preservation of ocean and coastal areas with economic development.
Senior Oman Air representatives attended the opening of the Expo, joined by 20 Omani students, drawn from a range of higher educational institutions, to meet and greet guests at the Oman Pavilion, an area dedicated to showcasing the Sultanate’s culture and environment.
Wayne Pearce, Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“Oman Air’s participation at Expo 2012 Yeosu highlights our commitment to promoting Oman as a wonderful tourist destination at every level. Its excellent hotels, rich culture and superb hospitality, coupled with awe-inspiring landscapes, untouched coastline and year-round sun make it the perfect choice for visitors from around the world. Flying with Oman Air is the ideal way to get there.
Khalid bin Abdul Wahab Al Balushi, Manager Government Affairs, Oman Air added:
“The Omani students who joined us at the opening of Expo 2012 Yeosu were excellent ambassadors for Oman and played a considerable role in successfully planning and supervising a range of related activities. Their presence was welcomed by all and their reflection of Omani culture and historical heritage gained the appreciation and admiration of visitors from around the world.”
Oman Air’s senior staff and the 20 students were based at the Oman Pavilion, which is located within a dedicated 786 square meter area and showcases Oman’s famous rich culture and beautiful landscapes. Divided into six sections, it features a reception area, displays outlining the challenges to Oman’s marine environment, and displays about Oman’s marine history and culture.
A separate area is dedicated to highlighting the investment and development potential of Oman’s coastal areas, with a focus on maritime activities, nautical sports and ports, as well as offering insights into the Sultanate’s work to conserve its maritime environment.
Participation at Expo 2012 Yeosu comes at an exciting time for the airline which, over the last few years, has seen significant increases in the size of the airline’s fleet, major expansion of its network to include more than 40 destinations and the introduction of a range of new products and services, including the pioneering of complete cellphone and wi-fi connectivity aboard Oman Air’s Airbus A330 aircraft. As a result, the airline is carrying many more passengers than ever before, supporting the unprecedented growth in the numbers of visitors to Oman. Over the same period, customers have shown their approval of the airline’s combination of quality and value by not only booking further flights, but also voting for Oman Air in a series of awards. As a result, Oman Air was presented with the ‘Service Excellence, Middle East’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat in the World’ prizes at the World Airline Awards 2011, which are organized by Skytrax, as well as the 2012 Business Destinations Travel Award for ‘Best Business Class Airline, Middle East’.