Ithraa sees hyper local as way forward for tourism in Oman

Oman Sunday 09/July/2017 22:32 PM
By: Times News Service
Ithraa sees hyper local as way forward for tourism in Oman

Muscat: Involving local communities and promoting local tourism manpower is the way to drive tourism in Oman, according to a report by Ithraa.
The report presents an analysis post the panel discussion panel during Ithraa’s Inside Stories, all of which point out that there are a large number of travellers, who are looking for offbeat locations to get the local, unique real-life experience, a market worth around US$140 billion globally.
“To take full advantage of Oman’s capacity to create tourism jobs, we must invest more in tourism education and training, create public policies that stimulate travel and tourism job creation, include micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the Sultanate’s tourism value chain and bring Oman’s public sector, business community and educational institutions closer together,” the report stated.
A study by showed that 52 per cent of respondents in Oman believed that there is a skills gap in the Omani market. The tourism sector, according to the panel, certainly suffers from this.
“The resulting shortage in local talent with future-proof skills will continue to dent the economy and limit job creation prospects. This gap can be bridged with policies that support more opportunities for appropriate industry experience, such as internships and apprenticeships, along with specialised education and training,” the report added.
Sustainable hyper local tourism offers are key to Oman’s tourism ambitions. According to the National Centre for Statistical Information (NCSI), in 2016, 3 million people touched down in Oman and Ministry of Tourism’s Vision 2040 plans to attract more than 5 million international visitors that will contribute 6 per cent of the GDP, up from 2.8 per cent now. Under the new US$35 billion investment plan, the government predicts the tourism sector will employ more than 500,000 people by 2040.
“When a community is involved in the direction of tourism development, it is more likely to become an active partner and take a keen interest in the development of the destination,” the report said.
It also gave out ideas to promote products and crafts made in Oman to further boost economic benefits for the local population.
Late last year, Tanfeedh, Oman’s National Plan for Economic Diversification highlighted ‘clusters’ built around local communities in one of its tourism initiatives. These clusters would include local community participation to facilitate tourism in those areas.