Oman: Enhanced Tourism
Tourism to Oman is increasing substantially. As such plans have been announced by the Oman Tourism Development Company for the creation of three new hotels, providing an additional 900 rooms for 2017/18. The address of one of the hotels is the Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre, in a new development area. In addition, Sheraton Oman – which has been closed for the last 10 years – is due to reopen in October. Having been a landmark in Muscat for many years, this hotel is one of the tallest buildings in the country, with 14 floors. That hotel alone is offering the bourgeoning tourist industry an additional 230 rooms (including 27 suites).
Of the new developments, Said bin Mohammed Al Qasmi (head of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre development and CPO) explained that:
“The new business hub at Madinat Al Irfan Urban development is going to be a new urban fabric introduced into Muscat, offering a multitude of opportunities in Oman for residents and visitors alike. The opening of both JW Marriot and Crowne Plaza next year will continue the initial stage of phase one of this development, adding another dimension to the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.” By having these fantastic hotels on-site to complement the world-class OCEC facility, it means there are already assets on the ground at the Madinat Al Irfan Urban development. Projects of this size often focus on doing a lot off-plan, but this is not the case with Al Irfan. We’ve begun phase one, and investors can see progress and tangible facilities already in place.”
In addition, a few months ago, ‘Tourism Horizons’ an academic engagement program was developed as part of a “strategic vision of developing Oman’s top urban and tourism destinations, including the ‘Madinat Al Irfan’ and the ‘Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront’.” Targeting various students from select academic institutions in engineering, marketing and tourism, this event was held at the Oman Tourism College, in an effort to find ways for the students to “contribute to the growth of the [tourism and hospital] sectors.”
Furthermore, the National Business Center just organized a discussion session as part of the monthly Reyooq initiative for the incubated companies and SMEs. At the event, the country’s Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Maitha bint Saif Al Mahrouqi, spoke of the investment opportunities SMEs in the Sultanate can access and how they can use its tourism strategy for job growth which will ultimately contribute to growth of the national economy and SME advancement in the industrial sector.
The event also highlighted the vision of NBC, which is to become the premier platform for Omani entrepreneurs by providing business development support and guidance, training and mentoring, access to markets and industry experts and state-of-the-art, fully equipped, office space, meeting rooms and presentation facilities.