Oman is gearing up for a stronger tourism season. The country is charting out strategic plans to boost its tourism industry. One of the key highlights is the 30-year tourism plan focusing on short-, medium- and long-term strategies, as per a report in Muscat Daily.
The four main pillars of these strategies include tourism competitiveness, marketing and product development, governance, education and socio-economic development.
Work on the Oman National Tourism Strategy has already commenced with domestic workshops. Another focus area will be the potential of transit passengers.
As per statistics, Oman Air expects incoming passenger numbers to reach 4.8 million this year. Of these, only 800,000 will be flying to and from Oman, and the airline is looking to attract the remaining four million transit passengers for a stopover.
Global statistics from World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) state that the travel and tourism industry in Oman is supported 37,000 jobs directly in 2013 and this is forecast to grow by 11.4% in 2014 to 41,000. This is the fastest growth in the Middle East region and among the strongest worldwide. By 2024, travel and tourism will account for 60,000 direct jobs, an increase of 3.9% per annum over the next ten years.
Supporting this growth is the hospitality industry figures will reveal that in H1 of 2014, total number of guests staying at four- and five- star hotels witnessed an increase of 20.7% reaching 368,764. Occupancy rates rose to 64.6% as of the end of June 2014 from 61.3% recorded during the same period in 2013. Total revenues of four- and five- star hotels grew by 8.7% during the same period rising to OMR 86.3 m. Hotel room capacity is forecast to expand at an annual rate of 5.3% in the next three to four years.
In line with the growing numbers, Omran is planning 12 new projects which are under study, including water parks, developing Omani castles and forts and eco-tourism resorts in order to attract and accommodate the rising tourist numbers. Further, Omran and its joint venture partner Muriya are developing at least 18 hotels, which will add over 4,200 rooms in the next four years across the country.