MUSCAT: The three-day Global Travel Week Middle East which concluded on March 30 in Muscat saw travel industry leaders and decision-makers from around the world taking part.
The delegates discussed key topics at the round tables with regard to the progression and future of tourism in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.
Some of the topics discussed ranged from GCC travel, motivation to travel, experience economy, technology, sustainability, defining luxury, multi destination trips, future of the GCC market and others.
Eng Ibrahim al Kharousi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism for Heritage , who addressed the conference as guest of honour, said: “The Ministry has taken several steps to boost tourism in the Sultanate of Oman and is currently implementing six key pillars to accelerate further growth for the sector. Each of the pillars aims to build a diversified and integrated tourism sector that benefits the historical, culture and natural heritage, attracting more investment to develop the tourism sector.”
He further added that the Global Travel Week will undoubtedly be a valuable addition to the travel and tourism industry. “The Sultanate of Oman, is a beautiful country with incredible attractions and sustainable travel choices. Our assets are our people, our majestic heritage and our natural beauty,” he added.
Sarah Hedley Hymers, Connecting Travel Editorial Director, in her keynote talk revealed why the GCC countries are set to enter a ‘Golden Age of Travel’ in 2030.
Hymers said: “By 2030, each GCC country’s tourism vision will be coming to fruition, bringing some of the world’s most rewarding and ambitious tourist offerings to the market.” She highlighted Sultanate of Oman’s development of 14 tourism hubs around the country, from the Musandam coastline to the Frankincense Trail in Dhofar Governorate, as well as projects in the pipeline across the rest of the GCC, from Qatar’s cruise port development to Saudi Arabia’s upcoming mega-resort, The Rig.
Hymers further added that the GCC is at the crossroads of East and West, with two thirds of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight or less, making GCC countries easily accessible. “This is compounded by exciting developments in visa eligibility and air connectivity, with new flight paths opening all the time,” she said.
She also addressed the safety afforded by low Covid-19 rates of infection and high rates of vaccination, commending the leadership of GCC governments for their handling of the pandemic, successfully guiding the region to its post-pandemic phase.
By 2030, the Sultanate of Oman is committed to the goal of attracting about 5.8 million visitors, it was pointed out.
Clive Jacobs, Jacobs Media Group chairman, who opened the Global Travel Week Middle East, said: “The past two years have challenged us in the most unimaginable ways and we have shown the resilience of our industry and I believe we emerged from this stronger and more focused.
“In September last year we launched a completely new concept, Global Travel Week, a brand-new annual travel trade event designed to help rebuild our sector. Following its success, we created this special luxury edition, based on our highly successful Connections model whereby we bring together key decision-makers in a way that is targeted time-efficient and leads to building long-lasting business relationships.”
Global Travel Week Middle East powered by Connections Luxury, is a trade event aimed at luxury travel buyers and suppliers, connecting the GCC and international markets. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Muscat and W Muscat played as hosts to the conference.