Muscat: Oman’s leading tourism authorities will join over 182 countries at the World Travel Market to promote the Sultanate and its attractions to the global tourism industry.
In a statement, Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad Al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism and head of the Oman delegation, said, “The Sultanate wants to participate in the World Travel Market London every year, as it is the second largest tourism fair in the world. Various organisations, entities, institutions, establishments, decision makers, government officials, major entrepreneurs, and investors participate in this event.”
A total of 24 tourism-related establishments will represent Oman at the global event as part of the nation’s efforts to attract more tourists from around the world and the UK specifically, which has rapidly become a key source market for the industry in Oman. In 2016, 137,170 British tourists visited Oman. That number rose by 4.4 per cent to 143,224 last year. As of September 2018, 114,006 British tourists had already visited the Sultanate.
Overall, Oman saw an increase of 100,000 visitors in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period last year, according to figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
The global forum would help the Omani tourism industry to exchange know-how and remain up to date with the latest trends and requirements for travellers, Al Mehrzi stated.
The Sultanate’s comprehensive tourism development is a key component of Tanfeedh, Oman’s economic diversification strategy. A report by the Implementation, Support and Follow-up Unit has laid out the long-term strategies for key areas listed under Tanfeedh, the national drive for economic expansion, and plans to increase the contribution of tourism to the country’s GDP to OMR1.5 billion by 2020.
The contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in 2017 was OMR849.5 million, or 3.2 per cent of total GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual report 2018.
A number of initiatives have helped boost tourism development, with unsponsored visas now available for nationalities of over 67 countries.