Muscat: Oman is all to set to lead the Middle East in terms of growth in the travel and tourism sector in 2014. The country is also poised to witness one of the strongest global growth rates for the upcoming year in the sector, according to the annual report issued by World Travel and Tourism Council(WTTC) , an international organization of travel industry executives promoting the industry worldwide.
The Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2014 assesses that the travel and tourism industry had directly contributed OMR 982.8 million to Oman's economy in 2013, which is 3% of the country's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This forecast is to rise by 10.2% to OMR 1,082.7 mn in 2014. The surge in travel and tourism activities is expected to grow by 5.4 % per annum to Oman's GDP to reach OMR 1,834.2 mn by 2024, which is 3.9% of GDP.
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The WTTC's annual report states that the total contribution of travel and tourism sector, including investments, supply chain and induced income impacts, amounts to twice its direct contribution to Oman's GDP. The sector's total contribution the country's GDP was OMR 2,078.6 mn, a 6.4% of the total GDP in 2013, which is expected to go up by 9.4 per cent to reach OMR 2,274 mn in 2014. By 2024, the total contribution of travel and tourism sector to Oman's GDP is expected to rise by 5.5 per cent per annum to reach OMR 3,884 mn, which is 8.2 per cent of the GDP.
Ghasi Humaid Al Hashmi, Deputy Director General of Tourism Promotion, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said: "We are delighted with The World Travel and Tourism Council's annual Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2014 report as it reflects Oman's booming travel and tourism sector. The construction of world-class hotels and resorts along with the development of a number of infrastructure projects in the aviation, road, rail and maritime sectors, including a USD 1.8 billion passenger terminal at the Muscat International Airport and transformation of the Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat into a tourism and cruise ship precinct, are part of the government's strategy to target more global targeted tourists.
The growth in the travel and tourism sector will also result in the creation of more job opportunities in the sector, thus boosting chances of employment for Omanis, which will definitely have a positive effect on the country's economy."
According to WTTC, In 2013, Oman's travel and tourism sector supported 37,000 direct jobs (3.3% total employment), it is expected to grow by 11.4% to reach 41,000 jobs in 2014. This is one of the strongest growth worldwide and the fastest in the Middle East. It further added that in total, the travel and tourism sector gave employment to 72,000 people in 2013. It is predicted to offer 79,500 jobs in 2014, an increase of 10.6%, while by 2024 it will create 60,000 direct jobs, an increase of 3.9% per annum over the next 10 years.