Oman’s ATM delegation was led by H E Maitha Saif al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
On the sidelines of the ATM, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism participated in the Ministerial Forum of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at the Dubai World Trade Centre along with representatives from tourism ministries and organisations. The forum’s participants highlighted the importance of the tourism sector in enhancing economic growth as well as the plans for diversification within the sector in the Middle East region and North Africa (MENA). Additionally, the Ministerial Forum provided an opportunity for participants to emphasise the crucial need for developing human resources, strengthening the partnership between the private and government bodies, adopting the latest technology and the need for sustainable solutions to serve the sector in the region.
Oman participates in the ATM annually, as it is considered the largest international gathering specialised in tourism in MENA. Major contributors and decision-makers in tourism-related activities participate in the ATM, namely - airlines, hotels, shipping companies, conference centers, hotels, resorts, tour organisers, senior executives in the tourism sector and travel agencies.
With 28 companies and tourism establishments participating under the Ministry of Tourism in this year’s ATM, the sultanate has achieved remarkable success with its participation in the forum this year. It is noteworthy that the ministry is always keen on cooperating with partners within the tourism sector to integrate efforts towards promoting Omani tourism products and institutions working within the industry and achieves this by participating in various international forums.
Representatives from Travel Point, Grand Hyatt Muscat Hotel, Experience Oman, Ehab Travel Agency, InterContinental Muscat Hotel, Coral Muscat Hotel & Apartments, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Mezoon Travel, The Chedi Muscat Hotel, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Ajwan Hotel Apartments, Magic Arabia, Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Oman Airports Management Company, Mirbat Marriott Resort, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Royal Opera House Muscat, Accor Hotels Group, Bahwan Travel Agencies, Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, Atana Hotels, Arab Explorers, Ramada Muscat Hotel, Crowne Plaza Duqm, Al Nahda Resort & Spa, Elite Holidays Travel & tourism, Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort & Spa and Khimji House of Travel participated in the ATM Forum.
The exhibition also witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and deals between companies and institutions which operate in the tourism sector in the sultanate, aiming to establish, develop and manage tourism-related projects. Their participation in the ATM contributed in promoting new services and projects to meet the ever-growing number of the sector’s needs and requirements.
At this year’s forum, the ministry presented the latest developments, tourism projects and summer campaigns that will contribute in attracting more visitors to Oman from around the world. This will in turn enhance the national 2040 Tourism Strategy.
In keeping with the same, the ministry has also developed a range of special tourism offers at very competitive prices with a number of leading hotels and travel agencies, which aim to attract visitors to Oman’s beauty, nature and cultural heritage. Additionally, the ministry’s representatives highlighted the different experiences of sports and various leisure tourism activities as well as the projects and plans that are expected to be launched soon in cooperation with concerned authorities and organisations.
The ministry also shared with the forum’s visitors the most important factors that enable the sultanate to transform into a leading regional centre for incentive tourism and conferences, given the establishment of Oman Convention Bureau, which works in strengthening the tourism sector by establishing new facilities and procedures to attract organisations which aim to establish their activities in the sultanate. This promotes Oman’s potential in conferences, exhibitions and the business tourism market globally.
In 2016, the incentive and conference sector witnessed the opening of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat, which includes theaters and high-tech conference’s halls, in addition to four hotels accommodating about 1,000 rooms as well as main halls for exhibitions that accommodate tens of thousands of visitors.
The ministry’s representatives also provided visitors to the ATM with the latest information regarding the facilities that have become important factors for improving tourism to Oman. This included the increased number of flights to and from the sultanate as well as the launch of daily and direct flights around the world. This in turn will meet the growing demand for flights, which is expected to grow in the next two years, and will make the sultanate a more easily reachable destination than ever before.