The Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) opened Oman’s new convention centre, announced at IMEX in Frankfurt, 16 May.
Part of the new Madinat Al Irfan urban development in Muscat, which is being developed by Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN), the executive arm for the development of the tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman.
The purpose built centre now offers two ballrooms (including the largest ballroom in Oman), a 456 tiered-seat theatre, 22 meeting rooms in addition to the already opened exhibition centre.
The Junior Ballroom can accommodate 540 guests for a banquet or 1,000 guests theatre style while the Grand Ballroom can seat 1,200 people for a sumptuous dinner or up to seven breakout areas for a convention.
Both ballrooms feature a column-free space with subtle Omani design details as well as the very latest in audio-visual support. These new areas complement existing five exhibition halls that feature 22,396sqm of column-free exhibition space and 10 hospitality suites as well a multi-storey car park with a capacity for 4,000 vehicles.
These new multi-purpose spaces are ideal for plenary sessions, conferences, concerts, performances and gala dinners.
With the new areas spanning 4,576sqm, the total current event space has now reached 48,632sqm. In a few months’ time, the final part of the jigsaw; the 3,200-seater theatre will open its doors for the first performance.
The precinct provides the infrastructure necessary to host international, regional and local events and includes a JW Marriott Hotel (five-star) linked directly to OCEC and the newly opened Crowne Plaza Muscat-OCEC that opened last November.
OCEC anticipates a minimum of 270 events this year; these include exhibitions, weddings, meetings, conferences and live events.
Trevor McCartney, GM of OCEC said: “Since opening our doors in October 2016 with our exhibition halls, we have been the host venue for more than 185 successful regional as per the and international events including our first international events; ACI Airport Exchange 2017 hosted by Oman Airports and the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture, which…attracted 45 ministers from around the globe.”
The Centre focuses on events that will bring significant strategic and economic benefit to the country and that are in line with Oman’s 2040 vision.
Working closely with the Oman Convention Bureau, OCEC is introducing the world to Oman and building awareness of the business events’ opportunities in the country.
Khalid Al Zadjali, director of the Oman Convention Bureau added: “We have seen a great start to 2018 following the much-awaited launch of the new award-winning Muscat International Airport on March 20, 2018 with a current capacity for up to 20m passengers as well as facilities to welcome the world`s largest aircraft, the Airbus A380.
“To drive business, we embrace a ‘Team Oman’ approach working alongside OCEC, Oman Air, our many hotels, attractions and Omani-based destination management, conference and event companies,” added Al Zadjali.
The number of association meetings in Oman has doubled in 2017 as per the International Congress and Convention Association’s recently released statistics and Oman is placed 2nd in the Middle East and 86th in the world.
OCEC’s opening has contributed to the business events industry in the country as well as the region. Recent successes include:
- The IRU World Congress staged by the World Road Transport Organisation that will bring 800 delegates in November;
- The World Hospital Congress of the International Hospital Federation (IHF) that will bring 1,000 delegates in 2019;
- The 40th SICOT Orthopaedic World Congress 2019 held by the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology – 2,500 delegates;
- The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist’s World Congress 2020, that will attract 2,500 delegates;
- The World Cancer Congress in 2020 that will bring 3,000 delegates to the Sultanate.