Muscat: Creation of exciting jobs, sustainable tourism, adventure tourism, catering to millennial, exclusive experiences, and more local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involvement were some of the topics discussed at Ithraa’s first ‘Inside Stories’ programme on Hyperlocal Tourism organised on Wednesday.
Moderated by Sayyid Adham Al Said, assistant professor of Economics at the Sultan Qaboos University, the session included Mazen Khoury, director of the Oman Investment Fund, Gillian Taylor, director, Business Development at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, Khalid Al Haribi, deputy chief executive officer of Riyada and Eric Walters, director, Hud Hud Travels.
“SMEs in tourism in the country need bigger role models, and we need smaller players in the industry,” highlighted Riyada’s Al Haribi.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council data, in 2015, tourism directly created over 107 million jobs and supported directly and indirectly a total of 284 million jobs, equivalent to one in 11 jobs in the world.
By 2026, these figures are expected to increase to 136 and 370 million jobs, respectively, representing one in nine of all jobs worldwide.
“Most people associate tourism with hourly jobs in the service sector and there’s no doubt that tourism is accountable for thousands of jobs across Oman. But what’s often overlooked are the management jobs that are a part of the Sultanate’s growing tourism industry,” said Taleb Al Makhmari, Ithraa’s director general of Marketing and Media and organiser of the monthly ‘Inside Stories’ programme.
“We see hotel desk clerks and doorman, but don’t notice the managers, supervisors, accountants and marketers that work in our hotels and resorts. We see waiters and cooks, but don’t notice the team of managers, chefs and supervisors that run a restaurant. We see flight attendants on Oman Air and Salam Air, but don’t notice the pilots and engineers that run the two airlines,” he added.
Other discussions will be held soon as part of the ‘Inside Stories’ programme.