Tourists to Oman to grow at 13% annually, fuelled by GCC visitors

Muscat - 

Tourist arrivals to Oman will increase at 13 per cent (compound annual growth rate) between 2018 and 2021, fuelled by visitors from across the GCC, who accounted for 48 per cent of guests in 2017. In addition, arrivals from India (ten per cent), Germany (six per cent), the UK ( five per cent) and the Philippines (three per cent) are also expected to contribute heavily to the growth.

This is supported by new visa processes and improved flight connections, stated global commercial real estate services organisation, Colliers International in its latest data release.

According to data released ahead of the Arabian Travel Market 2018 (ATM), which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25, and commissioned by ATM, the Colliers report stated that historically, the Middle East has been the largest source market for Oman, with arrivals from this group increasing at an annual rate of 20 per cent between 2012 and 2017.

These trends have contributed to a spike in companies looking to enter the Omani tourism market, as demonstrated during ATM 2017 when the number of attendees interested to do business with the sultanate increased 13 per cent compared to the 2016 edition of the show. The number of attendees from Oman increased 18 per cent over the same period.

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said, “The latest data demonstrates that the growth in visitors to Oman will continue, supported by strategic investment from the government as it turns to tourism to diversify its income streams. Oman is a fantastic destination with responsible eco, cultural and heritage attractions, as well as being a key travel hub, with significant opportunity to capitalise on transit itineraries for stopover visitors.”

Accommodating the predicted influx, a number of major hotel chains have recently announced properties in Muscat, driving the 12 per cent CAGR over the next three years; from 10,924 rooms in 2017 to 16,866 in 2021. These include Muscat’s first Novotel; a four-star, 300-room Crowne Plaza; and the 304-room JW Marriott, all located near the Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre. Additionally, Starwood is developing a five-star W Hotel, as part of ongoing work at the Royal Opera House Muscat. In October 2017, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts strengthened its Oman expansion strategy with the announcement of a third property in Muscat, the 370-key Mövenpick Hotel Muscat Airport.

Properties by Kempinski and Anantara are also under development. Leading domestic investment, Oman Hotels and Tourism has committed to building ten hotels across the country with a projected value of US$260mn by 2021. Supply in Muscat is dominated by five-star properties, accounting for 21 per cent, and four-star, accounting for 24 per cent.

Press said, “With strong existing demand from GCC leisure and business travellers, Oman is preparing for even more four- and five-star guests over the coming years as work completes on the Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre. Occupancy could rise by as much as five per cent in 2018, so Oman really is one to watch.”

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