Tuesday, May 17, 2022 | Shawwal 15, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

70 hotel projects to open this year

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Nearly 70 new hotel facilities are expected to open this year, which will add 4,500 rooms to the market.


The new project will offer a wide portfolio of resorts, hotels, camps and apartments, and heritage and eco accommodations.


According to Haitham bin Mohammed al Ghassani, Director-General of Tourism Promotion, foreign investors can have full ownership, except in certain strategic areas.


The government also plans to offer incentives to investors, such as the exemption from the rental value of the project for a period of up to five years, starting from the date of signing the contract between the ministry and the investors. The rental value is calculated based on the actually used area of the project land, provided that it is not less than 50 per cent of the total area.


Lands will be granted to investors through usufruct contracts for a period ranging from 25-50 years, subject to extension for a similar period.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism urged internal travellers to take liberal policies that exempt citizens of 103 countries from visas for stays of up to 14 days. Of these, citizens of 26 countries can enter Oman visa-free subject to certain regulations.


The ministry said it is working closely with the government and private sectors to achieve the goals of Vision 2040, of which tourism is an important pillar.


Meanwhile, experts at Arab Travel Mart said that domestic travel had rebounded at a faster pace than international travel in the Middle East. Regional trips accounted for 55 per cent of demand in 2019, according to Scott Livermore of Oxford Economics, and this figure grew to more than 80 per cent during the segment’s post-Covid peak.


Livermore predicted the proportion of regional trips accounted for by international travel would continue to recover in the future; he also pointed out that the importance of domestic travel was likely to persist.


In addition, speakers highlighted the role of mega-events, such as Expo 2020 Dubai


and Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022, in ensuring tourism in the Middle East continues to recover more rapidly than in other regions.


Panelists also noted that, while issues related to the supply chain and oil prices represent challenges for the sector, they remain cautiously optimistic due to high levels of pent-up demand in the wake of the pandemic.


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