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Aviation sector to add over OMR1.4bn to Oman's GDP
September 18, 2019 | 7:30 PM
by Times News Service
Top experts and executives from Oman Airports, Omran, Omnivest, Pennsylvania University, and Bank Muscat discussed the successes and challenges faced by the Omani business environment in tourism and transportation. -Talib Al Wahibi
 
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Muscat: Oman’s aviation sector is expected to contribute over OMR1.4 billion to the Sultanate’s GDP by 2040, according to the CEO of the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC).

Aimen Al Hosni, the CEO of Oman Airports, said: “We [the aviation industry] had a total contribution of an estimated OMR170 million to the GDP in 2016, and it is expected to grow to OMR1.4 billion by 2040. We are actually trying to upscale this.

“We always say that the aviation sector is an enabler, and aims to serve the country indirectly, compared to oil and gas.

“The airport is not an attraction for any tourist, it is an enabler for the guests of Oman. What we are trying to do is to make that journey good, safe and enjoyable. A big percentage of passengers today come with us on the aircraft, but then they arrive in Oman and leave for another destination.”



“We want Oman to be the hub of airlines,” he added.

According to the NCSI Statistical Year Book for 2018, 114,280 international flights passed through Omani airports in 2018. Of those, 57,143 flights were arrivals and 57,483 were departure flights, compared to 53,720 arrival flights and 53,725 departure flights



in 2017.

Al Hosni’s comments came during a seminar held on Wednesday, September 18 at the Modern College of Business and Science (MCBS), where experts and executives from Oman Airports, Omran, Omnivest, Pennsylvania University, and Bank Muscat discussed the successes and challenges faced by the Omani business environment in tourism and transportation.

CEO of Omran, Peter Walichnowski, said, “There were 3.2 million tourist arrivals in 2018. According to the NCSI, 34 per cent of visitor expenditure is usually on accommodation services, 15 per cent on food and 11 per cent on shopping. The average length of stay grew from five nights in 2005 to seven nights in 2017.

“Domestic tourism is expected to double to 4.6 million by 2040.”

Acting Dean of the College of Business and Science, Dr Khalfan Al Asmi, spoke about the importance of SMEs in Oman’s tourism and transport future.

He said, “Oman aims to highlight the future prospect of our country to be a major tourist destination.”

“We hope to highlight the importance of incentives for SMEs and young people to own businesses such as tour companies, sightseeing, desert hiking, mountain climbing, parasailing, and others. We at MCBS have an SME incubation and innovation hub that aims to encourage young people to start their businesses,” he added. Deputy CEO of Omnivest, Shahid Rasool, said that it was important for Oman to have more diversity in the nationalities that come to visit the country.

He said: “As we know, most visitors to Oman are from the GCC.”

Excluding GCC nationals, 24 per cent of tourists in Oman in 2018 were from India, 9 per cent were from Britain, 6 per cent were from Germany, and 4 per cent were from France and the Philippines each.

“We need to have more diversity in when it comes to tourists coming to Oman,” he concluded.

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