Oman high on Indian trade
With an increase of 35% in its budgets this year, Oman is going all out to engage the agents. It will conduct training workshops and fam for 60 agents this September.
Having completed four years in India through its representative Blue Square Consultants, the Ministry of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman, now has its finger on the market pulse. With Indian arrivals showing a continuous climb, the ministry has increased its budget spends in the Indian market.
Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative for Ministry of Tourism, Oman, says, “Our budgets have increased more than 35% over last year’s, which will help us to implement our plans. We will conduct several marketing and promotional campaigns this year.”
Among its activities for this year are joint promotions, advertising, familiarization trips, online and offline training programs, and sales visits with the agents. “A major event we will be conducing this year is the ‘ Specialists Training Program’ in September. For this, we will be inviting 50-60 travel agents from Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad to Oman. There will be pre-tours and post-tours in Oman along with B2B workshops where they will interact with trade in Oman. This is the first time we are conducting an event of this scale,” Sheerazi reveals.
Oman as a wedding destination
With an increase in Indian footfalls by 10.4% in 2012-2013 over the previous year, the ministry is expecting a rise of nothing less than 15% this year. And it is hoping that this increase in volume will come from the wedding market.
“Earlier, Indians considered Oman only for its business and commercial prospects. But we have managed to change this perception slowly. Our focus now is on projecting Oman as a destination for weddings apart from leisure holidays,” Sheerazi says.
The ministry is also exploring film tourism. “Oman has a diverse landscape, beautiful locations, good infrastructure and friendly locals – factors that make it an ideal destination for movie shoots as well as weddings. Also, Oman is only two and half hours away which makes it logistically convenient for wedding planners and film produc- tion houses. We participated in the three- city India International Film Tourism Conclave (IIFTC) earlier this year where we got the opportunity to meet several top directors, producers and production houses who showed great interest in shooting in Oman,” Sheerazi adds.
MICE retains priority
MICE, however, continues to be its focus area. Sheerazi says, “We foresee a lot of growth in this segment. To increase awareness among the corporate and trade about Oman as a MICE destination, we recently participated in MICE Travel Mart (MTM) in Mumbai and will also be participating in MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress (MILTC), Experiential Planner as well as MTM Delhi. To give them a first-hand experience of Oman, we will be conducting a fam for top corporate and trade in August.”