• New 2040 Tourism Strategy Targets Annual visitor numbers of 5 Million
• Tourism set to employ over 500,000 – 70 per cent Omanis – by 2040
• Launches Innovative “Cluster Concept” to build on natural and cultural diversity
• Oman superbly positioned to benefit from growing global “Adventure Tourism” trend
The Ministry of Tourism, Oman, has announced at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai plans to more than double the number of international visitors the Sultanate attracts over the next two decades as part of its new national 2040 Tourism Strategy.
By 2040 the country wants to attract over 5 million international visitors to this unique tourism destination in the Gulf, in addition to the same-day visitors and domestic tourists, making the tourism business one of the most significant in the Sultanate generating over 6 per cent of annual GDP.
The Ministry has also revealed that its growth strategy for the tourism sector is going to be based upon an innovative “cluster” approach that will create a series of unique tourism experiences in different areas of Oman, reflecting local culture and heritage.
Clusters will be therefore based around the unique coastal experience of Musandam; the Hajar Mountains; the Frankincense Trail in Salalah; culture in Muscat; the deserts and will have a mix of accommodation and experiences that will enable the clusters to become mini destinations in their own right.
The development of these new clusters will also help in Oman’s strategic approach to attracting visitors from one of the world’s fastest growing tourism segments –adventure tourism.
Oman’s Ministry of Tourism officials say they will be working closely with private sector partners to ensure the right infrastructure of accommodation; restaurants; transportation and other key elements are in place to boost the attraction of each cluster and create more local employment.
Under the new strategy the tourism sector is predicted to employ over 500,000 people by 20204 with an estimated 75 per cent of those being Omani nationals and it is also predicted to help make the Sultanate of Oman a role model for responsible tourism in the future.
Commenting on the impact of the new strategy, Director General of Tourism Promotion Salim Al Mamari said: “The announcement of the 2040 tourism strategy for Oman provides us with a clearly defined and structured road map for future growth and expansion ensuring that tourism becomes one of the most important economic pillars for the country’s future.
“The Sultanate has a truly unique offer for tourists within its regional geography, and provides an amazing diversity of visitor experiences. We are well positioned to benefit from growing international tourism trends such as adventure tourism and creating truly memorable experiences for our visitors from a cultural, environmental, natural and family perspective.
“Omani hospitality is legendary and our new cluster concept will build on that and also helps to create tens of thousands of new jobs for Omani nationals in particular – and therefore boost the overall economic prosperity of the country.”
He explained that the clusters concept would be rolled out over the next 10-15 years and eventually there would be over 10 specialised clusters located across the country – providing an amazing localised and intensive visitor experience.
Meanwhile tourism infrastructure across Oman is being rapidly enhanced with the planned opening in the near future of the new Muscat International Airport that will initially have a capacity of 12 million visitors a year with future expansion to accommodate up to 48 million in the future.
New luxury hotels are being developed across the country and will open in Muscat, Salalah and in the mountains at Jebal Akhdar among other destinations including a number of world class international brands.
The country’s growing and successful meetings, incentives and conference sector is also set to be given a boost with the creation of the Oman Convention Bureau and the scheduled opening of the Oman Convention Centre in Muscat later this year.
Meanwhile nearly 30 hotel operators and travel agents are participating with Oman Tourism to promote attractions from across the country and tourism representatives include both the country’s Director General of Tourism Promotion Salim Al Mamari and the Director of the Oman Convention Bureau, Khalid Al Zadjali.
Commenting on their successful participation at ATM, Mr. Al Mamari added: “We have been delighted with the hugely positive reaction we have had from visitors to our stand here at ATM and the interest that the travel business and individuals have shown in Oman as one of the most sought after and fastest growing tourist destinations both in the Middle East and internationally.”
The Ministry of Oman, Tourism, can be found at the Arabian Travel Market in Hall ME2110 throughout the exhibition.