The announcement comes following a site visit by H E Dr Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, chairman of Board of Directors; Peter Walichnowski, chief executive officer, Omran and Eng Said al Qasmi, chief project officer, OCEC, stated a press release.
Developed by Omran within Madinat al Irfan – a world-class, urban mixed-use development, OCEC is located only 4km from Muscat International Airport. Phase one of the purpose-built Exhibition Centre opened its doors to visitors in October 2016. Since then the OCEC has hosted over 55 regional and international events, and has recently won the bid to host the World Cancer Congress in 2020.
Phase two of the project is the iconic Convention Centre which includes the multi-purpose state-of-the-art built-in auditorium with a capacity of 3,200 which is planned to be operational by June 2018. The Banquet Building, which includes two large ballrooms, a theatre of 450 seats, a number of meeting rooms and the central food-court, is currently at the final finishing stage and will be available for booking for events ahead of completion.
“The OCEC was designed specifically to increase the MICE sector offering in the Middle East. By developing integrated conference and event spaces, we aim to provide a new and exciting option for business travellers – putting Oman on the map as a global MICE destination,” commented Eng Qasmi.
“At Omran, one of our main aims is to improve the socio-economic development of the sultanate by building innovative projects, such as the OCEC precinct, which drive the growth of the tourism sector as well as engage with the local community.”
The OCEC precinct includes four hotels - two under construction and two in the planning phase; a future shopping mall and commercial business park. The soft-launch of the much-anticipated Crowne Plaza Hotel is on track for October 2017, bringing over 296 hotel rooms to business and leisure travellers visiting the OCEC and Madinat al Irfan. The JW Marriott Hotel is set to be fully operational in June 2018, bringing a further 304 rooms to the destination.
Pioneering an institutional framework for planning, development, and regulatory control, Madinat al Irfan delivers the highest standards of urban development for Oman and the region, added the release.
The project was designed to establish a new urban centre within the heart of Muscat – home to a living, working and visiting population of approximately 280,000. Its innovative infrastructure strategy, adhering to world-best practices, aims for significant improvements to the project’s overall sustainability performance, including 50 per cent reduction in energy demand, water use and car reliance.
“Madinat al Irfan has received interest from local, regional and global investors. As we progress with the development, the project will shape into a cosmopolitan city on par with global standards,” said Walichnowski.