Oman looks to 2040 with optimism and firm objectives to be implemented through a strategic development and established plan which focuses on the promotion of the territory, the high quality of accommodation facilities, the culture of hospitality, and, last but not least, the authenticity of the meeting with the local population.
This was explained by Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism of Oman, on the occasion of the first stage of the roadshow that took place on Friday in Rome, Italy.
Stimulated by the excellent results achieved on the Italian market, which in the first half of 2018 saw an increase of over 100% compared to 2017, with 45,064 visitors from Italy, Oman chose to include 2 opportunities to meet with the trade focusing on the diversification of travel opportunities in the various seasons and on the promotion of the development plans that the Sultanate is implementing. To date, Italy ranks third in the European contributing market for Oman, after Germany and the UK. The forecast is to close 2018 or about 70,000 Italian tourists.
“The construction of a destination’s brand requires time, funds, and a long-term commitment,” said Minister Al Mahrizi. Over the next 25 years, the Sultanate expects to increase the impact of tourism from 8 to 12 times that of today, bringing benefits to the various economic sectors: over 500,000 jobs by 2040 and investments amounting to 19 million OMR (approximately 43 billion euros).
According to the Oman Tourism Strategy 2040, the new investments will help to position Oman among the main leisure and business destinations of the Gulf and to attract 12 million international tourists.
The goal is to develop tourism while preserving the identity of the nation, its culture, architecture, and natural resources. “We are creating new formulas of hospitality in places that allow tourists to meet with our people, but we also offer state-of-the-art facilities or business facilities, such as the brand-new 22,000-square-meter convention center,” Minister Al Mahrizi said.
The strategic plan develops on a series of “clusters” aimed at creating different experiences in 14 areas of Oman: from the Muscat capital to the Musandam peninsula, to the Hajar Massif, to the incense in Salalah in the Dhofar, and to the coast on the Indian Ocean, the desert, the road to the Forts, and archaeological sites.
“This trend is the result of a multi-level strategy aimed at promoting the destination to individual leisure customers and to medium/high-profile groups driven by cultural interests,” said Massimo Tocchetti, the representative for Italy of the office of the Sultanate of Oman.
In Italy, the distribution is still traditional, and the strong development potential is in the fact that 30% of the production is manned by 5 tour operators, while many others produce less than 100 passengers a year with potential.
The approach for 2019 will be to continue working on enhancing brand awareness and conversion rates through online and offline activities ranging from advertising to social media. “The targets we are looking at are families, because we are talking about a family-friendly country, tourists interested in culture, but also those with special interests such as outdoor activities and luxury,” added Tocchetti.