Muscat – The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is a great opportunity for Oman to boost tourism. The agreement for 48 daily Oman Air flights between Muscat and Doha will greatly help in achieving tourism targets, say experts.
The pact is part of agreements signed with Gulf airlines that will see operations of more than 180 daily shuttle flights to Qatar, allowing fans to fly in from nearby cities and ease accommodation pressure in Doha.
H E Salim Mohammed al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, has tweeted that this agreement will support the tourism sector and small and medium enterprises as a large number of football fans are expected to visit the sultanate.
“The ministry will hold recreational activities to revitalise a few tourist areas in different wilayats, including the establishment of Olympic villages,” said Mahrouqi.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Amir al Balushi, CEO of Peace Gate for Investment, said, “Qatar hosting the World Cup is a great opportunity to stimulate tourism in the region, especially in Oman. This is an opportunity to showcase Omani hospitality, culture and heritage – which is unique in the region – to the guests arriving during the World Cup.”
He added that the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism should prepare tourism brochures and short films to help attract football fans to Oman. “We should also have special souvenirs to present to tourists who will visit during the Qatar World Cup.”
Nasser al Hosni, an economic analyst, noted that a global event of this scale is happening for the first time in the Middle East. He described it as a “good enough reason” for tourists from all over the world to come and experience the region.
“This an opportunity to stimulate the economy, create job opportunities, and support small and medium enterprises to promote their products. There will be a huge demand for hotel reservations and a revival of tourist traffic. The transport and communications sector will also be active because fans will come in thousands,” Hosni said.
H E Basil bin Ahmed al Rowas, Undersecretary for Sports and Youth in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, informed that there is coordination with Oman Football Association to attract a few teams that have qualified for the World Cup to set up camps in the sultanate to acclimatise before the start of the tournament. He confirmed that Oman has sports facilities for these teams have been prepared according to international standards.