The tourism sector has lost around RO1.3bn due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in 25,513 direct and indirect job losses.
To make amends, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has developed a comprehensive plan for recovery, by gradually activating the tourism sector beginning with local tourism, followed by regional and international, by launching campaigns and promotional programmes accompanying each of the stages according to the target groups.
The situation of the tourism sector and the plans for its revival were part of the discussion when H E Salim al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, was hosted at the second annual session of the MajlisA’Shura on Sunday.
The ministry has granted 20 licences for investment in integrated tourism complexes, estimated at RO5.68bn, which will provide about 46,500 jobs, H E Mahrouqi stated at the meeting.
“The ministry aims to attract investments worth RO3bn in the next three years, which stems from the priorities of Oman Vision 2040,” said H E Mahrouqi.
Providing figures for the industry, he said that the tourism sector witnessed a steady growth in its indicators over the past years, bringing the sector’s total earnings to RO1.3bn at the end of 2019. This resulted in direct added value of RO718mn, compared to RO700mn in 2018, to form two per cent of the total gross domestic product. The number of incoming visitors increased, reaching 3.5mn in 2019.
Talking of the effects of the pandemic, he said that the tourism sector lost about RO1.3bn due to COVID-19. The number of employees decreased by 9.5 per cent from 157,227 in December 2019 to 142,247 in same period in 2020.
“The Ministry has developed a comprehensive plan for recovery, consistent with several models, by gradually activating the tourism sector, as well as focusing on a package of projects and initiatives to stimulate domestic tourism.”
The comprehensive tourism development plan includes 14 proposed tourist sites. “Each complex includes a package of recreational projects and the establishment of a number of hotels. The ministry has prepared a plan to develop tourist areas in five governorates in the first stage in Muscat, Dhofar, Musandam, Dakhliyah and South Sharqiyah,” H E Mahrouqi said.
In the next three years, the ministry also plans to target the international and regional meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector through its tourism representation offices.
“The recovery plan also includes establishing visitor centres at a number of new locations, developing sites registered in Unesco’s World Heritage List, supporting private museums, and paying attention to beaches and adventure tourism,” he added.
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