MUSCAT: The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MoHT) in Oman has achieved significant indicators in the targets of Oman Vision 2040. The target was to reach 33,000 hotel rooms by end of 2025, and the ministry's statistics indicate that the achieved indicator reached 32,371 hotel rooms by end of September 2023.
The target for the number of tourists is 2.5 million by the end of 2023. This target has been exceeded, with the number of visitors reaching 2.9 million by end of October. The targeted percentage contribution of tourism to the GDP at constant prices for 2025 is 2.75%, and this target has been approached, with the contribution of tourism to the GDP at constant prices for 2022 reaching around 2.4%.
The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism uses statistical data systematically to produce indicators that support the tourism decision-making process. Furthermore, it works towards achieving the goals of the heritage and tourism sectors in the Oman Vision 2040.
Moreover, the ministry conducts comprehensive quarterly evaluations of the plans and programme related to the targets of Oman Vision2040 and compares them with the achieved statistical indicators. This process helps in implementing tourism plans and initiatives.
The ministry relies on various data sources, such as the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) , the Ministry of Labour, the Omani Tourism Development Company (Omran Group), and other entities, to generate statistical reports and analyse them. Future forecasts are then made based on this data in order to improve the performance of the tourism sector.
One significant survey conducted in partnership with the NCSI is the survey of incoming and outgoing visitors. It aims to provide a better understanding of the tourism sector in Oman and offers important information for decision-makers. The survey provides data on the number of tourists, their nationalities, and their economic, demographic, and social information.
Key derived indicators from the previous survey include data on the number of tourists, their nationalities, and their spending. This helps enhance the value of the GDP and the movement of the tourism sector by developing marketing, development, and planning strategies to attract a larger number of tourists.
Tourism indicators contain crucial information needed by decision-makers to find appropriate solutions for developing tourism services and to measure the targets of the Oman Vision 2040. Additionally, the data from these indicators supports the tourism sector in providing services related to licensing.
Regarding the reflection of indicators on investment in the tourism sector, whether in terms of investment volume or quality that serves the sector, the ministry has worked on issuing an investment target of RO 3 billion by 2025. Investments and the quality of tourism projects are measured annually according to these indicators.
The ministry is currently opening investment opportunities for managing and utilising 15 historical landmarks (castles, forts, and neighbourhoods) to local companies and institutions to enhance the contribution of cultural heritage to economic growth.
Khamis bin Hameed bin Hamad AL Qasimi, the head of the Tourism Statistics Department and supervisor of the survey of incoming and outgoing visitors at the NCSI, stated that the fieldwork for the 2023/2024 survey of incoming and outgoing visitors is ongoing. The survey is conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and the Royal Oman Police at Muscat International Airport, Salalah Airport, and six land border crossings. The fieldwork will continue for one year, starting from December 1, 2023, until November 30, 2024.
Among the project's objectives is estimating the total number of tourists who visited Oman and measuring their demographic and economic characteristics, as well as the number of nights they spent during their trips. The information provided by this important project helps to understand the reality of the tourism sector and develop appropriate plans to address the challenges faced by this sector. — ONA