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'Oman is the fastest growing tourism destination in Middle East'
May 2, 2016 | 10:42 PM
by Times News Service
World Travel and Tourism Council expects Oman to attract 3,342,000 international tourist arrivals in 2026.
 
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Muscat: Oman is the fastest growing tourism destination in the Middle East when it comes to the total contribution of travel and tourism sector to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said in its latest report.

While the total contribution of the sector was 5.7 per cent of Oman’s total GDP (OMR 1,593.8 million) in 2015, this is expected to grow by 6 per cent in 2016.

At an expected growth rate of 6 per cent, Oman stands at the top, while Qatar and Kuwait follow with 5.9 and 5.6 per cent of expected growth, respectively. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) come in at sixth place, with an expected growth rate of 4.4 per cent.

The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector includes the wider effects of investment, the supply chain and induced income impact.



With regards to the direct contribution of the sector to the country’s GDP, Oman stands second, with a growth rate of 6.6 per cent, following Kuwait.

The direct contribution reflects the economic activity generated by industries, such as hotels, travel agencies, airlines, other passenger transportation services, restaurants and leisure industries.

The WTTC has forecast an increase of 5.1 per cent in the number of jobs directly generated in the travel and tourism sector in 2016, the report said. The number of jobs is expected to reach 56,000, which is 2.8 per cent of total employment. This includes jobs in industries, such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants and airlines. The WTTC expects the sector to account for 81,000 jobs in 2026.

The total contribution of the sector to employment, reflecting the wider effects of the sector, is forecast to rise by 4.4 per cent in 2016 to reach 116,500 jobs, according to the WTTC.

Oman ranks ninth out of 10 countries in the region when it comes to the sector’s contribution to employment, with 5.7 per cent in 2015. The UAE came in at the fifth place, with 9.6 per cent of total employment.

WTTC expects Oman to attract 3,342,000 international tourist arrivals in 2026.

The Tourism Strategy 2040 of the Ministry of Tourism will target 5 million international visitors by 2040 and a 6 per cent rise in the sector’s contribution to the GDP. In 2015, Oman received 2.4 million tourists.

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