Omran Rapidly Transforming the Sultanate into Regional Tourism Hub
6 July 2014
Omran has announced a number of new development projects with the aim of rapidly transforming the tourism sector locally and elevating Oman’s position on the global tourism stage. The projects are a direct reflection of the company’s strategic plan to support the national economy and for the tourism sector to make an increasing contribution to the GDP of the sultanate. Through these projects, Omran is working to enhance Oman’stourism offerings and capabilities, transforming the nation into a regional tourism hub while attracting increasing numbers of visitors from across the globe.
Eng. Wael Al-Lawati, CEO of Omran commented: “This is an exciting period of growth and transformation for the tourism sector in Oman and we’re aiming to achieve a quantum leap in terms of new projects and developments to promote and support that rapid growth. This will be achieved by developing a number of projects in a strategic manner, targeting areas and regions which are not only attractive for inbound tourists, butfocusing on projects which will directly benefit the local economy in terms of job creation and down-stream collaboration with the burgeoning SME sector.As such, it is our responsibility to ensure that these projects are aligned with the development plans of the Sultanate of Oman. At present, Omran is studying the feasibility of 12 new tourism projects in different parts of Oman, including recreational water parks, forts and a castles development project. We will only invest in projects based on a sound tourism and economic assessment, in addition to key environmentaland social considerations. As such, each project is assessed on its overall merits and its ability to make a positive economic and social contribution to the future growth of the sultanate. Once completed, projects such as these will play a major role in making Oman an increasingly attractivedestination both regionally and internationally.”
In a statement to Oman News Agency, he pointed out that in 2013, RO78mn worth of tenders for the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, energy centre, and parking area were assigned, in addition to the Traveler's Oasis project in Salalah worth RO1mn. He added that the company bid tenders of three hotels worth RO120mn, and that Omran's commercial services department had awarded contracts worth RO85mn in 2013, in addition to RO170mn worth of tenders under process.
A recent World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report highlights the growth of the tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman and details the promising potential for inbound tourism to Oman, making it one of the pioneering countries within the Middle East in the tourism sector during 2014. Additionally, “The Economic Impact of Tourism and Travels 2014” report notes that the direct contribution of tourism and travel sector to the Omani economy stood at an impressive 982.8 million R.O in 2013, representing 3% of the total GDP. The report anticipated that this direct contribution will increase to 4.5% on an annual basis totaling some 2.1834 million R.O by 2024, representing 9.3% of the GDP.
Aligning with the latest market trends, Omran is implementing a number of projects in various attractive locations in the Sultanate which are characterized by their unique natural and cultural components and Alila Jabal Akhdar represents one such development, with the resort officially being launched in April. The resort offers a choice of 86 rooms and suites, 2 Omani royal villas, and 6 multi-level suites and has witnessed a remarkable demand from both local and international tourists eager to explore the beautiful Jabal Akhdar Mountain. Since its launch, Alila Jabal Akhdar has hosted a large number of visitors from the Sultanate, GCC countries as well as foreign tourists who have experienced the best of sustainable luxury at the very height of what is one of Oman’s best known tourist destinations.Alila Jabal Akhdar boasts LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and operates according to the highest standards of health and safety.The project recently won awards for the ‘Best Sustainability Project’ and ‘Best Hospitality Project’ for this year from the ConstructionWeekOnline awards.
Meanwhile, the quintessentially Omani brand ‘Atana’, was established by Omran under the umbrella of the National Omani Hospitality Company LLC, and is responsible for managing four and five stars hotels and resorts in the Sultanate of Oman. Atana is characterized by a philosophy and operating style that bridges traditional Omani hospitality and contemporary lifestyle experiences. In keeping with the authenticity of the Atana experience, the Atana identity combines Arabic calligraphy and English letters in an innovative and creative manner, in-tune with the rich cultural history of the sultanate. Keeping close links to the local community, the Atana strategy is to support and enable small and medium enterprises and involve the local community in all their activities. With this in mind, Atana Hotels are joining hands with many local institutions and individuals as well as employing and training citizens who can provide a genuinely Omani experience for visitors and residents alike.
The new Atana Musandam hotel was launched in April and is distinguished by its contemporary design and décor and personalized service, reflecting the unique spirit of Omani hospitality. The resort is located in the picturesque Musandam peninsula and offers 110 rooms with additional accommodations for conference and business visitors. The stunning location combines majestic coastal beauty, stunning waterways and a deep history and heritage that will no doubt energisethe domestic tourism market in Musandam. Furthermore, the Atana Musandam resort is the second hospitality asset bearing the Atana name. The company is also now managing the Atana Khasab hotel which was previously operated under the Golden Tulip Khasab banner.
Developing the newest destinations in Duqm, the Crown Plaza Hotel saw its official launch in April 2014 under the auspices of H.H. Sayyid Taimur Bin Asaad Al Said, Assistant Secretary General for International Relations at the Research Council. The hotel is the newest addition to the list of Omran’s economic development projects that aim to attract local and foreign investment to the Special Economic Zone in Duqm. During the same period, Phase one of Duqm Frontier Town, one of Omran’s key investments, was also inaugurated. The first phase, launched by Duqm Development Company, encompasses 344 residential units that will contribute directly to the development of Special Economic Zone in Duqm, as well as boosting the current and future investment projects.
Boosting Tourism in Salalah, the Al Baleed Seafood Restaurant, which is located near the Al Baleed archaeological site – a UNESCO World Heritage site, will offer a unique dining experience to visitors from all over the world. The Al Baleed Seafood Restaurant will make a significant contribution to the tourism industry in Salalah and will encourage investors and business owners to start similar projects and facilities that serve the growing number of tourists visiting the Dhofar Governorate. The restaurant is due to be completed and handed over in the second half of 2015. Meanwhile, the construction of Quriyat-Sur Integrated Rest Area is underway. It is a unique tourism facility that will offer state-of-art infrastructure to travelers, boost the tourism industry in the Sultanate and improve road safety.
Meanwhile, the launch of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2017 is a keystone project which will transform the Sultanate of Oman into an international convention and exhibition destination regionally and globally. The construction work of the exhibition hall is due to be completed in 2016, while the convention centre itself is to be completed in 2017. The project also encompasses four hotels, a business centre, shopping mall and residential apartments. Omran previously released a report by Booz & Company which shows the added economic value the project will bring to the Sultanate, with the development cost estimated at 295 million Omani Riyals. The project is also forecast to create some 12,000 jobs by 2015 when construction work reaches its peak. The report also highlighted that the project will generate 15,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, and will contribute 200 – 240 million Omani Riyals to the national economy by 2030.
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