HOTEL&TOURISM SMARTreport #42 - Exclusive Interview with Minister of Tourism Sultanate of Oman

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SMARTreport

ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

#13 / TRAVEL: ULTRA-PERSONALISED

NEW DESTINATIONS EXPERIENCED IN

DIFFERENT WAYS

SPOTLIGHT ON

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

#21 / THE NEW BOOM IN MEA TOURISM

UNWTO REPORTS AFRICA AND MIDDLE

EAST LEAD THE CHARGE BOOSTS FIGURES

INNOVATIONS

& TECHNOLOGIES

#33 / SPOTLIGHT ON GEN Z

TRAVELLERS

ADAPTING TO NEW WAYS OF

COMMUNICATING

WE INTEND TO

LIMIT THE NUMBER

OF TOURISTS, BUT

CONCENTRATE ON

THOSE WHO SPEND

MORE.

Ahmed Bin Nasser

Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi

Minister of Tourism,

Sultanate of Oman

#42 - 2019 SPING EDITION / A CLEVERDIS PUBLICATION

As seen in Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #42

2019 SPING EDITION

Brought to you by Cleverdis

Gérard Lefebvre, Cleverdis Founder & CEO,

with Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi,

Minister of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman.

The Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport is a quarterly luxury travel

publication. It is published by Cleverdis, a company renowned for

“information intelligence” in the realms of B2B communication,

the publication of trade show dailies, custom publishing and

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OMAN: A DIFFERENT KIND OF DESTINATION

Exclusive Interview: Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi,

Sultanate of Oman (Official ITB Berlin Partner Country 2020)

Growth of visitor numbers to Oman has, since 2013 not

been less than 5.7% per annum. We asked Ahmed Bin

Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi, the nation’s Minister of

Tourism, to tell us more.

Ahmed Bin Nasser

Bin Hamed Al

Mahrizi

Minister of Tourism,

Sultanate of Oman

We think this kind of growth

will continue up to 2028, and

international reports confirm this.

The government is taking care

of the tourism sector, because

we want to develop five sectors,

including tourism, so as not to be

so dependent on oil revenues. With

oil prices constantly fluctuating, this

is very bad for our future. Along

with tourism, we aim to develop

agriculture, light industry, logistics,

and mining. One of our main exports

is marble, which we even export to

Europe. But we need to take care of

our culture, our identity, and thus to

avoid overtourism. The population

of Oman is small: only three-million

Omanis and a total of four-point-five

million including foreign nationals.

People are open to foreigners,

but they don’t yet understand the

tourism sector as a “business”. This

is why we have created our own

strategy up to 2040, taking care of

these aspects – specially the culture.

We also want to target adventure

tourism, with hiking, biking and

climbing, and so on. We have

mountains, desert and beautiful

seas for diving. MICE is another

sector we want to grow. We intend

to limit the number of tourists, but

concentrate on those who spend

more. Recently, the Sultanate has

taken certain important measures


As seen in Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #42

© Richard Bartz

© Shivinder Bhandari

OMAN RECEIVES

PATWA CULTURE

AWARD

IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Minister of Tourism,

Wadi Bani Khalid,

Sharqiyah region, Oman

The minaret of Friday Mosque

as seen from Nizwa Fort,

Nizwa, Oman

The Sultanate of Oman made a new

achievement in the tourism sector

this year as it was awarded the “Best

Destination - Heritage & Culture” in

2019 by the Pacific Area Travel Writers

Association (PATWA), an official

UNWTO affiliate in March this year.

HE Ahmed bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al

Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism, received

the Sultanate's award, on the sidelines

of ITB Berlin from Dr Taleb Rifai,

former UNWTO Secretary-General,

and Sagar Ahluwalia, the Secretary

General of Pacific Area Travel Writers

Association (PATWA).

that have had positive impacts on the

tourism sector of our country. These

measures included making tourism

visa easy, increasing investment in the

sector, establishing more hotel and

other related establishments, increasing

promotional drive and exploring new

markets.

What are the main source markets

and how are they evolving?

The gulf countries – especially in

June, July and August. They come to

the south of Oman, because in these

months, the weather is similar to India,

with rain, and temperatures dropping

to the mid 20s, when the weather is

very hot in the north of Oman. It’s not

far for them, and they prefer to come

by car. In the winter time, they come to

the north of Oman. After that, there’s

the Europeans, with the number one

market being the UK. We also have

WE HAVE

MOUNTAINS, DESERT

AND BEAUTIFUL

SEAS FOR DIVING.

MICE IS ANOTHER

SECTOR WE WANT

TO GROW.

many visitors from Germany and France.

There are an increasing number of

charter flights from Europe to the south

of Oman – to Salalah. New markets for

us are China, Iran and India. Indians

have been coming for a long time, but

we have been increasing our focus on

this market since last year.

OMAN TO BECOME

OFFICIAL PARTNER OF ITB

BERLIN 2020

The Ministry of Tourism of the

Sultanate of Oman has been named

as Official Partner Country for ITB

Berlin, held in March 2020. The major

international forum of the travel

and tourism industry will see the

participation of many hotels and other

tourism establishments of the country,

along with the national carrier of

the Sultanate, Oman Air, and Oman

Airports Company. The Sultanate has

recently taken a number of important

measures to aid the country’s tourism

sector. These included facilitating

tourism visas, increasing investment

in the sector, encouraging investment

in the hospitality sector, increasing

promotion and exploring new

markets.


As seen in Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #42

© Paasikivi

© Ian Sewell

Oman Air is increasingly opening up new

destinations. They have been flying to

new destinations in the United States and

Australia since last year.

What’s being done to develop

infrastructure?

Firstly, we have our new airport, we have

a very good road system – even winning

a prize this year thanks to our excellent,

modern road network. In terms of

communication, we have a better level of

performance than even some European

countries. Most of the world’s most

famous hotel brands are present in Oman.

At ITB in Berlin 2019, you had excellent

participation from Omani tourism

companies of different kinds. You must

have been pleased with the turn-out

– especially with a view to next year’s

partner country status…

Yes, I very much appreciated the

participation of tourist companies of the

sultanate in ITB Berlin. It was part of the

efforts being made for private and public

partnerships in the tourism sector of our

country, finding avenues for cooperation

between them. I laud the participation

of these Omani tourism companies in

international tourism events. The presence

of these companies in such platforms

opens-up more horizons of development

of tourism. I would also like to praise

those who work for the introduction of

Omani tourism products and services

on an international level in general. It is

important to promote tourism wherever

the opportunity arrives. The Ministry of

Tourism is leaving no stone unturned to

ensure presence of Oman in all tourism

markets, marketing in conventional

and social media. Indeed, all efforts are

THE MINISTRY OF

TOURISM IS LEAVING

NO STONE UNTURNED

TO ENSURE PRESENCE

OF OMAN IN ALL

TOURISM MARKETS,

MARKETING IN

CONVENTIONAL AND

SOCIAL MEDIA.

being made to introduce Omani tourism

everywhere in the world, with hotels and

tourism companies contributing effectively

to the promotion of offers and services

to attract a larger scale tourism flow. The

participation of the Sultanate in the ITB

Berlin this year was given extraordinary

importance as the Sultanate was officially

declared as the official partner of ITB Berlin

2020 on this occasion. This shows Oman's

popularity in the largest international

tourism forum. It gives us a wonderful

opportunity to introduce our tourism

products even more strongly next year,

eventually leading to an increase in Gross

Domestic Product (GDP) and supporting

the economic diversification efforts of the

country.

Oman recently won “Favourite roadtrip

destination” at Conde Nast Traveller

ME’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018/19.

What makes the Sultanate so attractive

in this sense?

Being chosen as the “Favourite roadtrip

destination” was no surprise, as the

Sultanate of Oman is bestowed with many

kinds of natural scenery, offering combined

experiences of both beaches and deserts,

mountains and wadis as well as greenery

in other parts of the country.

What is your message to the world’s

travel professionals?

This is the real “authentic” place – Oman.

Our people are always smiling, to the point

that foreigners can even be surprised by

their friendliness. Our country is very open

to cultures from around the world

Wadi Dayqah Dam, Oman

Wadi Shab, Oman

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