The Omani Experience
The new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre will help the Arab nation showcase its full MICE potential
The Sultanate of Oman, located on the South East coast of the Arabian Peninsula, is set to become a major regional centre for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – thanks to the new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre ( OCEC). What is also a recent development is the establishment of the new Oman Convention Bureau by the Ministry of Tourism. This goes to show how serious the destination is in hosting corporate events. Salim Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion – Ministry of Tourism, Oman says, “Our Tourism Strategy for 2040 has MICE as a major pillar to help us grow and enhance the industry. The objective of the Bureau is to support the international and local organisations in hosting their events and cater to their requirements. The main aim is to promote Oman as an ideal destination for the MICE tourism sector." Another development is the establishment of the new Oman Convention Bureau by the Ministry of Tourism.
The Ministry of Tourism is fully committed towards enhancing the MICE sector in Oman to help the Sultanate achieve its potential to be a first class destination for this sector. In practical terms, the MICE area will receive a significant boost in 2016 with the scheduled opening of the Oman Convention Centre in Muscat in the last quarter of this year. The convention centre will include stateof- the- art theatres, conference rooms and four hotels with almost 1,000 rooms along with major exhibition halls that can cater to tens of thousands of people at one time.
The sector will also be boosted by the ongoing expansions and enhancement of Muscat International Airport that will initially increase capacity to 12 million passengers a year arriving in a modern new terminal and with capacity to expand to take up to 48 million passengers a year.
Oman’s tourism sector is enjoying substantial growth as well. According to the Sultanate of Oman, the country has attracted nearly 3,00,000 Indian tourists in 2015. This figure is expected to witness a 15 to 20 per cent rise this year. Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Ministry of Tourism, Oman,
said, “We received 2,99,022 tourists from India in 2015, which was a 17 per cent growth from 2014. With growing interest in wedding destination and MICE segments, we are expecting a 15- 20 per cent growth in tourists from India in 2016.”
Targeting high- end, evolved, neo- educated travellers from India, Oman is expecting around 350,000 to 360,000 Indian tourists to visit the country. She adds, “Our target segment from India mainly consists of families, couples, business and weddings and we mostly look at age group between 25- 65 years.” Oman saw a growth of 17.7 per cent in total international visitor numbers in 2015 to 2.4 million. The Gulf Cooperation Council has an ambitious new tourism strategy and plans to increase the total number of international visitors to 5.3 million by 2040. Tourism is set to be one of the key pillars for economic growth in the Sultanate in the coming decades and that means ensuring that it has a plentiful supply of quality hotel rooms.
The new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre ( OCEC) is located only four kilometres from Muscat International Airport. The 22,000 sqm facility will provide state- of- the- art facilities: Two auditoriums. 5 Exhibition halls. 13 Meeting rooms. 10 Hospitality suites. 1 VIP pavilion. 4,000 vehicles capacity car park.
Amenities within OCEC
JW Marriot Hotel. Crown Plaza Hotel. Two more hotels with a combined total of 1,000 rooms. Business Park. Retail shopping mall. Nature reserve. Wadi ( valley) park.
Muscat, the capital city of Oman, is sparkling white, topped with golden minarets in the middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains. Muscat is rated as the second cleanest city in the world. Greater Muscat boasts of high- rise business properties, world- class highways, up- scale
Oman is targeting high- end, evolved, neo- educated travellers coming from India