National duty: There is optimism that the Ministry’s appeal will receive a vigorous response particularly as most hotels, faced with abysmal room occupancy levels amid the pandemic, have enough capacity to commit a decent number of rooms for the national cause.
Muscat: Hotel establishments across the Sultanate on Tuesday were weighing a response to an appeal issued by the Ministry of Tourism for the allocation of free rooms to support the Omani government’s pandemic preparedness strategy.
The move is designed to help create adequate room capacity to be placed at the disposal at the Ministry of Health for precautionary quarantining of citizens and residents as a safeguard against the further spread of the contagion.
In its appeal, the Ministry called on hotels across all classifications to set aside rooms for the national cause. “We are soliciting pledges initially from hotels located in Muscat Governorate and other major cities, but will also gauge the response from establishments in the governorates as well,” said an official tasked with garnering feedstock from the hospitality sector. “An inventory of these rooms and their locations will then be provided to the Ministry of Health.”
While the cost of hosting any ‘guests’ referred by the Ministry of Health will be borne by the hotel establishment, the government will pick up the tab towards food and beverages, the official noted.
Meanwhile, a number of Muscat-based properties contacted by the Observer said they would respond positively to the appeal. “There’s no doubt we will earmark a certain number of rooms, but given the unprecedented nature of this appeal, a final decision can only be taken at a high level. Furthermore, as we are part of an international chain, you can expect allocations across our portfolio of properties in Oman,” an executive of a well-known hotel brand said.
Omran Group, which owns a string of luxury properties across the Sultanate, is expected to make a notable contribution to the cause, a management executive representing a prominent brand in the capital region, told the Observer.
“As a government enterprise and the holding company of government-owned hotels and resorts, Omran Group’s contribution to this effect is likely to be exemplary. And with occupancy levels at many properties at a bare minimum at the current juncture, there is no practical reason for the Group not to be generous in its offering,” the executive, who asked not to be identified, remarked.
There is optimism that the Ministry’s appeal will receive a vigorous response particularly as most hotels, faced with abysmal room occupancy levels amid the pandemic, have enough capacity to commit a decent number of rooms for the national cause.