The Oman Ministry of Tourism has set its sights on
attracting 12 million visitors by the year 2020.
The ministry’s vision follows on from a strong
2008 visitor arrival performance which saw three million-plus
international travellers enter the Sultanate.
on this and forward visitor arrival projections the ministry is
confident the tourism sector will become one of the biggest
contributors to Oman’s GDP within the next 11 years.
The ministry’s aspirations have been heavily supported by both
the Oman government and private sector which have invested heavily
in several major tourism projects across the destination valued at
more than US$10 billion.
Sultanate of Oman Tourism
Director Australia/New Zealand Mona Tannous said one of the
principle projects now underway was a major upgrade and expansion
of the Sultanate’s principal air gateway, Muscat International
The airport last year handled more than
3.2 million international visitor arrivals.
for the airport development, she said, include a new terminal
building, 32 air bridges and an additional runway while the
existing runway will be upgraded to handle the super-sized
In addition to the airport development, several
massive tourism projects are now well underway most of which will
be completed within the next five years.
include 10 integrated resort style developments under construction
in various parts of the country plus a major 6000-seat Convention
Centre being built on a 1.6 million hectare site close to Muscat
Work is also nearing
completion on the venue for 2010 Asian Beach Games which will take
place at Wudum Al Sahil near Muscat in December next year.
Following the event the games complex is intended to be
used as a major resort complex.
Ms Tannous said the
overall blueprint for all of these projects also extended to the
development and upgrading of key transportation hubs and links
other parts of the country.
These include new
regional airports and facilities in Nizwa, Duqm and Salalah, all
of which are viewed as critical in facilitating access to these
regions for international visitors arriving via Muscat.
Ms Tannous said a major component of the ministry
achieving success for its ‘Vision 2020’ charter centres on the
roll out of ongoing international marketing strategies designed to
further broaden the destination’s appeal to an ever-widening
These, she said, were
intended to create awareness of the many fascinating, historical
and culturally rich regions which make up the destination while
attracting further investment and even more opportunity for the
country’s tourism sector.
Entering Oman she said
had also become much easier following a recent move by the
government to change visa regulations to allow nationals of up to
60 countries to receive entry visas on arrival at the airport.
Minister of Tourism, Dr. Rajiha Bint Abdulamir Bin
Ali, said that under the Oman government’s ‘Vision 2020’ charter
the tourism sector has been set the following objectives:
- To increase the level of employment of Omani nationals
in the sector from the current 37% to 80% by the
- To achieve an average annual growth
rate for the tourist income by seven per cent for the period
- Conserve and protect the natural
environments as well as assuring respect of customs, traditions
and cultural heritage.
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