Oman is now discovering its potential to become a tourist hotspot and is taking action by diversifying the economy, luring investors and generating jobs for expatriates and nationals.
The state is thus far very successful in their endeavours to generate tourism and the national economy. The Ministry of National Economy figures show the international arrivals consist of investors, workers and tourists are increasing by 8 percent, as well as hotel occupancy rates went to 70.1 percent in 2005, which conveys a high tourism growth spurt. This economic growth trend will carry on through 2006.
Such development implies that Oman is on the suitable path to constructing new hotels, similar to that of neighbouring Dubai’s large scale resorts. Oman’s newest development the $200 million Barr Al Jissah located in Muscat opened for business in February, offering the finest of entertainment and dining experiences, surrounded by three towering lavish hotels.
And they’re only getting started. Oman has several major resort developments scheduled to begin construction such as Muscat Gold & Country Club, The Wave, and the Yiti Beach Resort. The Blue City is an additional resort to be built in the Sohar vicinity, with comparable space availability to the Barr Al Jissah, but the Blue City resort will also be home to opulent residential estates which foreigners can purchase, which will hopefully magnetize wealthy visitors to spend more time in an extravagant ambiance.
Other sectors also need to spruce up in order to accommodate the growing tourist industry. Airport services will be the main concern for Oman’s infrastructure reconstruction. Seeb International Airport which capacity is at 2.5 million travelers yearly, accommodates the bulk of sightseers holidaying in Oman. This capacity was exceeded in 2005 to 3.8 million, which is evident that Oman is in desperate need of more Airport facilities. The Omani government is dedicated to the expansion of the International Airport to accommodate 12 million passengers, in addition to the commitment of the expansion of Salalah airport in the South. They are also investigating constructing a airstrip at Ras Al Hadd to manage tourist flights in that region.
Oman is not only a happening place for tourists, but also job hunters. Oman is encouraging employment growth in the region, by offering the diverse amount of job prospects from construction to engineering, the offers are endless. And the opportunities are anticipated to increase over the year due to high development projects expected to commence.
Oman is eager to please their tourists by providing a variety of unique events to experience such as the successful 2005 Khareef Festival that celebrates the breezy monsoon weather of the Indian Ocean from July and August which had 200,000 visitors present. The Ministry of Tourism also plans to refurbish Oman’s abudant historic forts, as well as play host to international sporting events such as the Oman’s 2006 International Rally. Tourists will be able to access these events and other tourist hot spots when the government invested al Hooti caves development which consists of a series of tunnels and a subterranean lake in the Hajar mountain range is completed.
Increasing tourism calls for increase in flights to Oman, which subsequently requires employees to manage and direct these flights coming into Oman. The Gulf state has its own carrier, Oman Air, which flies within Oman’s borders as well as to other Gulf states. Things are definitely happening for Oman, and when its all complete, Oh man, what a place it will be.