Muscat: South Korea, the largest importer of Omani LNG, is aiming to substantially increase business and tourism ties with the Sultanate in 2018, according to an exclusive Times of Oman interview with South Korea’s Ambassador to Oman Kang Doho.
The relationship, which saw South Korea become Oman’s third largest trading partner in 2017, will help boost Oman’s National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh) and Vision 2020 through the promotion of tourism, trade, and industrialisation. A number of multi-sector business delegations from South Korea will be visiting the Sultanate throughout 2018, the ambassador
“Oman is our partner in achieving mutual goals, economic growth and the promotion of peace,” he said, adding, “Historically speaking, Omani sailors travelled to Asia long ago, adventurous Omanis used their abilities to navigate by ship to trade frankincense in the ports of Korea, China and the rest of Asia. Since then, our relationship has grown and today South Korea is the second largest export market for the Sultanate.”
Korean companies currently maintain a strong presence in Oman, especially in the petrochemical, desalination, power generation, civil engineering, as well as information technology sectors. But more importantly, the two nations share a common logistical status as trade and regional hubs, a fact boosted by their close proximity to major markets.
“Economically, we have a lot in common. My generation and the one before can remember what it was like before technology. We had to start from scratch and today, have managed to achieve rapid growth backed by state-of-the-art technology and our proud heritage.
“The process we went through to achieve that success can be positively compared to Oman. We can combine the Sultanate’s excellent location close to major trade routes, resources, and rich culture with what South Korea was able to achieve to drive our partnership further,” said Doho. With the conclusion of the “peace and passion” themed Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, South Korea’s ambassador believes the time has come to tap into the vast tourism potential both countries share.
“Tourism is very important as it creates understanding and friendship between people. In Korea, more than 20 million people travel abroad every year and there is great potential to attract them to the Sultanate,” the ambassador added.
“We are looking to do more to promote tourism for Omani residents going to Korea and vice versa. We are organising meetings with the Korean National Tourism Organization, which will visit Oman soon with a number of major Korean travel agencies. Additionally, we are working alongside the Omani Ministry of Tourism to boost two-way travel from Oman to Korea and Korea to Oman. In this regard, we are pleased to see more Korean journalists visiting Oman to showcase Oman’s beauty to Korea,” he stated.
“I highly recommend the Shabab Oman II travel to us. The ship sailed to Europe and we hope it can come to Asia. That kind of traditional ship visiting parts of Asia, including Korea, would be very welcomed as it promotes friendship, peace, and fraternity,” he added.