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.

CMW Issue 80 Front Cover

Oman Air launches daily direct flight from Manchester to Muscat

Oman Air

Oman Air launched its new daily flight from Muscat to Manchester on 1 May, with an inaugural flight from Muscat. The new 7.5 hour service departs Muscat International Airport each day at 14.00 and arrives in Manchester at 19.05. The return flight leaves Manchester every day at 20.45 and arrives in Muscat at 07.20 the following day. The new daily service from Oman Air is operated by an A330 -200 and is in addition to the double daily flight from London Heathrow, making Manchester the only airport outside of London to have direct flights to Oman. The service will cater to the 22 million people in the Manchester catchment area.

New hotels for 2017

Kempinski Hotel, Muscat

Kempinski hotel
A new luxury Kempinski Hotel is currently being built in Al Mouj, Muscat with an opening date of mid-2017. Al Mouj is a newly developed premium community running parallel to six kilometres of stunning coastline and contains luxury hotels, residential properties, green spaces, inland waterways and a PGA standard 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman. The hotel itself boasts 310 rooms, three swimming pools, ten dining venues and is only 20 minutes from the impressive new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre. Rooms start from £214

dusitD2 Palm Mall Muscat

The dusitD2 Palm Mall Muscat, scheduled for completion in 2017, will be located within the mixed-use Palm Mall development that will offer unique attractions including Oman’s first snow village and the Sultanate’s largest aquarium with select rooms having stunning views over them. The upscale hotel will offer approximately 150 guest rooms and 100 luxury suites together with meeting rooms and a ballroom to cater for corporate groups and special events. Other leisure facilities will include a gym, spa and pool and an enticing array of culinary offerings.

W Hotel

W Hotel
Omran, set up by the Government of Oman, develops and manages some of the largest tourism projects in Oman. The W Hotel in Muscat is one of Omrans’s major projects and is being developed jointly with the Starwood Hotels Group. The hotel will include 290 rooms, health clubs, retail outlets, ballrooms and conference rooms making it an ideal location for business travellers to Oman. The hotel will open to the public in 2017.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Crown Plaza Hotel
The 296-room hotel will be the second Crowne Plaza hotel in Muscat and the fourth Crowne Plaza hotel in Oman. The new-build property will feature extensive meeting and event facilities with a separate function centre that will include a glamorous ballroom with terrace, a boardroom and three large meeting rooms. The hotel will also benefit from five restaurants, including a rooftop restaurant where guests will be able to take in picturesque Muscat views. There will be extensive leisure and fitness facilities add to the hotel’s appeal: private outdoor relaxation zones with female and male Jacuzzi pools, 150 square metre fitness zone, two pools and a children’s playground.

New developments for 2017

Saraya Bandar Jissah

Saraya Bandar Jissah
Saraya Bandar Jissah 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 that will be operated by world-class operators—the Jumeirah Group, five residential zones, and a state-of-the-art recreational facility. Saraya Bandar Jissah, which is being developed in partnership between Omran and Saraya Oman, is located on the outskirts of Muscat on a secluded beach surrounded by the Hajar Mountains. The destination is being built on 2.2 million square metres of land, with an expansive beachfront and a high point of 250 metres above sea level. Saraya Bandar Jissah will be home to 398 exclusive residential units, spacious hilltop villas, stylish town-houses and luxury apartments—all with an attractive waterfront and mountainside views.

Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront

Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront
The Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN) launched the $1.3 billion Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project aimed at transforming Port Sultan Qaboos into a major tourism based mixed use waterfront destination. As per its initial launch in 2015, the project is panned in four phases. The first phase of consists of a fisherman’s wharf, fish souq, a five-star marina hotel, a four-star family hotel, residential, destination shopping, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, entertainment and cultural facilities as well as a super yacht and leisure boat marina. Its completion will be achieved in phases, starting 2020.

New Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre

Oman Convention and exhibition Centre
The first phase opened in September 2016, and the new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre is set to become an iconic landmark for Muscat and the Sultanate of Oman. Surrounded by nature it overlooks a wadi which is a haven for Oman’s exotic bird life. The Centre is conveniently located only 10 minutes from the Muscat International Airport. Located in its own precinct, this world-class facility is perfectly suited to host international, regional and national conventions, exhibitions and business events. Amongst its features is a tiered auditorium seating 3,200 people and more than 22,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space.

Iconic refurbishments and new programmes of events

Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel undergoes extensive refurbishment

Al Bustan Palace
Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, has revealed plans for extensive restorations, aimed at spotlighting the hotel’s role as a symbol of Omani culture and hospitality. Set to start in spring 2017, the multi-phase transformation is anticipated to come to an end by early 2018. The work will include a complete refreshment of the 200 guest rooms and 50 suites, meetings and events spaces, majestic lobby lounge, grand ballroom and all-day dining restaurant. Some of these spaces will be remodelled for the first time in ten years. Facilities such as the recreation centre and fitness will also be refreshed and upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment. The journey of the hotel will be charted in an exhibition showcasing a selection of renderings and pictures from the project’s creative vision, offering the visitors as well as the local community a glimpse of the grand transformation.

Barr Al Jissah unveils exciting programme of events

Barr Al Jissah
Barr Al Jissah, the exceptional luxury destination in Muscat, is delighted to announce a dynamic programme of entertainment, sports activities, art and educational workshops and concerts for adults and children for 2017. The destination’s newly launched Al Mazaar, a one-of-a-kind edutainment centre, will play host to a varied series of exciting activities including ArtBox, a unique concept designed to promote art. Other workshops will promote social and environmental awareness for both adults and children. Additionally, the adjacent open air amphitheatre will play host to a series of live concerts, which this year has already witnessed seven globally acclaimed acts perform including Fatman Scoop, Artful Dodger, DJ Luck & MC Neat, Sam Supplier, DJ Bluey, DJ AA and Roger Sanchez; joining the impressive roster of artists who have previously played at the destination such as Tom Jones, Ed Sheeran and Stereophonics.

Barr Al Jissah is also home to three luxury hotels – Al Husn, Al Bandar and the family-friendly Al Waha – managed by Shangri-La, which feature 20 food and beverage outlets, as well as the sumptuous CHI Spa and world class sports facilities; available for residents and external guests visiting Barr Al Jissah for events, concerts and other activities.