Tourism sector holds great potential for Sultanate

Haider Al lawati –
haiderdawood@hotmail.com –

A number of global reports speak of the good growth of tourism in the Sultanate despite the circumstances witnessed in the region.
In the latest report published by Cluttons about the real estate developments in the first quarter of this year, the company focused on tourism developments in the Sultanate, stressing that the Omani government is adopting measures that would enhance the overall economic growth in the country.
The report also highlighted the importance of tourism sector in promoting growth in the next phase, away from the oil and gas sector, pointing out that this is one of the most vital sectors of the economy as it holds the largest possibilities not yet explored.
According to the report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, this sector represents a bright future for the tourism sector in the Sultanate, which ranks 18th in the world in terms of tourism growth capacities until 2028.
The tourism has long sustained quite an interest from the government and private sectors as a result of projects being implemented in this sector, as well as in the overall logistics sector on one hand, and legislations enacted and enforced to attract more tourists to the Sultanate.
This stems from the vital importance of this sector and the means to diversify sources of income and reduce dependence on oil revenues.
This requires more employment opportunities for small enterprises and entrepreneurs to venture into projects, and facilitate procedures to enable them to benefit from this.
Commercial license applicants still need lot of requirements and it is complex for small business owners who wish to venture into tourism sector, which can easily accommodate thousands of young entrepreneurs.
Over the past few years, many events were organised locally to discuss investment in tourism sector, which helps shed light on this, and provide a clear picture on investment opportunities in the tourism sector.
The latest report indicates that the contribution of travel and tourism sector to the Sultanate’s GDP is expected to grow by 6.3 per cent during 2018, then at a rate of 5.9 per cent per year until 2028, bringing the total to RO 3.3 billion or 8.9 per cent of the GDP.
This expected improvement is a radical shift in the basic structure of the Omani economy, which certainly will push the economy towards more diversity on a larger scale.
This sector is currently gaining massive regional and international reputation, especially since the government has succeeded in bringing attention to this important sector and its multiple activities to raise significant national awareness among citizens to accept foreign tourists and treat them with respect and pass on these principles to generations.
The Sultanate also managed in the first phase of Oman Tourism Strategy 2040 to focus on five governorates, including Dhofar, where there are multiple prospects for tourism investments for citizens.
Moreover, the strategy includes development of 14 tourism complexes across the governorates, along with a wide range of tourism products suitable for targeted local and international markets, which will enhance and develop governorates and their tourist potential, thus boosting the sector.
The flow of projects in this sector does not end here, as the Ministry of Housing recently announced allocation of six sites for the establishment of fully-equipped rest stops, including fuel stations and other services covering an area of 30,000 square meters at each site along the path of Al Batinah Highway, which will provide more basic services for users.