Muscat: The curtain came down on the hugely successful inaugural NBO Oman Open in a glittering closing ceremony attended by His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said, Dr Mohammed Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil & Gas, and a host of dignitaries including National Bank of Oman (NBO) CEO Ahmed Al Musalami and Her Highness Sayyidah Rawan Al Said, Chairperson of NBO.
The $1.75 million tournament, Oman’s biggest ever professional sports event, was won by Joost Luiten but he wasn’t the only winner.
The Sultanate has benefitted immensely from its debut as a host venue on European Tour with the economic impact of the NBO Oman Open estimated to reach over $20 million.
The tournament has been broadcast around the world with a global household television reach of 400 million, with viewers being presented with stunning visuals of the Almouj Golf club in its picturesque coastal setting alongside the Gulf of Oman.
The vast majority of golfers interviewed for a variety of sports channels, newspapers and magazines during the week of the tournament have referenced how beautiful Oman is and the coverage is expected to generate around 8,000 additional visitors to the country over the next 12 months.
Indeed, the tournament itself saw over 3,000 spectators, players, staff and officials descend upon Muscat with expenditure on flights, accommodation, restaurants reaching in the region of $5 million.
National Bank of Oman CEO, Ahmed said: “Through this tournament we took the opportunity to not only showcase the country as a top sports and tourism destination, but to also give the world a view of the vast opportunities that Oman has to offer. We believe in the economic benefits that this tournament brings, which is another reason why we remain steadfast in our commitment to evolving the sport of golf across the country.
“At NBO, we believe that golf is a sport where young Omanis can excel, and we believe our involvement will lead to world class talent emerging from the Sultanate.”
European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “It’s been an absolute privilege on behalf of the European Tour for us now to have a main Tour event in Oman. About two and a half years ago I came here as the CEO of the European Tour and I’ve had the privilege to travel to 43 countries in that span but this is my first time to Oman and it’s been unbelievable. People are so friendly and I’m still looking for the first cloud in the sky!
“His Excellency Dr Mohammed Al Rumhy has given us incredible guidance because he saw the vision and believed that if we showcased this wonderful country to 400 million viewers from around the world we could do something special.”