The Sultanate of Oman in 2017
The Sultanate of Oman took great strides in the tourism sector in 2016 with the opening of two new five star Anantara hotels, one in the stunning Al Hajar Mountains and another opening in Salalah in the tropical south of Oman. Furthermore, the Sheraton Hotel re-opened after a nine year closure and the first phase of the new Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre opened – the second phase will open in 2017 and is expected to attract 230,000 visitors in its inaugural year.
The first quarter of 2017 has seen Oman receive 137,170 visitors from the UK and Ireland. This is very encouraging and arrivals are already up by 6.5%. This is expected to increase further with the introduction of the new Oman Air flight from Manchester to Muscat on 1 May, which is in addition to Oman Air’s double daily flights and British Airway’s daily flights from London Heathrow. By 2040 Oman aims to attract more than 11.7 million visitors, making tourism one of the most significant income generators in the Sultanate, at between 6 and 10 per cent of annual GDP.
Some notable hotel developments in 2017 will see the opening of the luxury Kempinski Hotel in Al Mouj, Muscat as well the dusitD2 Palm Mall Muscat, scheduled for completion this year. Another exciting development is Saraya Bandar Jissah which is on track to deliver a one-of-a-kind luxury development in 2017, with two 5-star beachfront hotels, a boutique hotel and a resort hotel. The Port Sultan Qaboos is currently under major development to become the Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront; formerly a commercial port, it will transform into a major tourist and business travel destination with hotels, retail and cultural areas. Oman currently offers 18,825 hotel rooms and this figure is due to increase by 40% by 2018 with the addition of a further 10,000 rooms.