Oman is extensively targeting the growing business travel sector of India as it remains poised to become a major hub for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) in the recent times.
Following the latest developments of the Oman Convention Bureau, the Ministry of Tourism in Oman is planning an aggressive campaign to allure the growing markets like China, Japan and India. Salim Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion – Ministry of Tourism, Oman, insisted on the commitment towards enhancing the MICE sector in Oman.
The long-term plan aims to help the Sultanate achieve its potential to be a first class destination for this sector. Oman’s tourism strategy for 2040 has MICE as a major pillar for the future to help it grow and enhance the industry. The objective of the Bureau is to support the international and local organizations in hosting their events and cater to their requirements.
Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative – Ministry of Tourism, Oman, explained to Media India Group how India is a huge potential market for Oman’s growing MICE tourism sector: “India is the third fastest growing economy in the world and its business travellers are forecasted to be the second largest group after China in a few years. Data and facts like these played an important role for us in strategizing our plans in India and made us very focused on attracting business tourism. We have been actively organizing various activities to promote Oman as an attractive MICE destination. Since 2010, we have been conducting marketing activities in India on a regular basis promoting Oman as a leisure / MICE destination through roadshows, joint promotions with travel trade, online and offline trainings and participating in trade fairs and exhibitions.”
“The ministry’s aim is to provide a unique range of business tourism amenities with a distinct local flavour. Oman’s rich cultural heritage and exquisite natural attractions will be a big draw for business tourists”, added Lubaina Sheerazi.
The boost from the Oman Convention Centre
In practical terms, the MICE sector is expected to see a significant boost in 2016 with the scheduled opening of the Oman Convention Centre in Muscat in the last quarter of this year. “By August 2016, we will be witnessing the first-phase completion of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center. The Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) will provide state-of-the-art facilities and convert Oman into a competitive venue for major global and regional events. This will enable Oman to host major meetings, incentive, conventions and exhibitions events. The 22,000m facility will be complemented with 4 hotels with a total of 1,000 rooms and a business park. Located 4 kms from Muscat Airport, it will act as a gateway to Muscat and will be seen as a competitive venue for major global events”, elaborated Lubaina Sheerazi.
The ongoing expansions and enhancement of Muscat International Airport will also add to the choice of MICE planners from the world. Muscat plans to increase capacity to 12 million passengers a year arriving in a modern new terminal initially. The ambitious new tourism strategy for Oman plans to grow international visitor numbers to 5.3 million by 2040 and the improvement of the airport infrastructure will prove to be a vital boost.