Oman Tourism Strategy to create distinctive clusters

An ambitious national tourism strategy presently being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism with the assistance of a leading Spanish consultancy firm will help in the creation of tourism clusters around the Sultanate, a high level executive representing national carrier Oman Air said.

Mohammed Mubarak al Shikely (inset), Vice President Marketing — Oman Air, that the key differentiator in the latest tourism strategy — as opposed to the multiplicity of strategies adopted in the past — was that the consultant behind the new blueprint would also be involved in the actual implementation of the strategy.
“In the past, the different tourism administrations at the time brought in consultants to develop strategies, but for the first time the Ministry of Tourism has brought in an entity not only to develop the tourism strategy, but also to help in implementing it. That’s the element that has been missing in the past.”
Participating in a panel discussion at the OER Business Summit on Monday, Al Shikely said the consultant (Spanish firm THR) chosen by the Ministry to assist in the implementation of the Oman Tourism Strategy 2040, will help carve up the Sultanate into clusters and thereby create distinct destinations within Oman.
“The Tourism Strategy is to develop clusters or destinations with the wider destination called the Sultanate of Oman. Rather than simply saying we’re promoting tourism to the Sultanate of Oman, the strategy creates clusters (catering) to visitors looking for sun, sea, sand, or the mountains or countryside. Oman has everything to offer the discerning traveller,” the Oman Air executive said.
“For the first time, the Ministry of Tourism has not only selected the vendor to deliver the strategy but also to implement it. Although we have been talking about strategies for years, this time around we see a step change and an urgency in the approach of the government , with timelines stipulated for deliverables. I think we will all be pleasantly surprised with what will come out of this,” Al Shikely added.
Spanish consultancy THR has been contracted by the Ministry of Tourism to support the government in the development and delivery of Oman’s Tourism Strategy 2040. Unveiling the blueprint last year, Maitha al Mahrooqi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, said the Tourism Strategy will spawn immense benefits for the local economy, including the creation of over 500,000 jobs by 2040. The sector will also contribute between 6 – 10 per cent of GDP by this timeframe, as well as sustain around 1,200 small and medium businesses.
Planned for implementation in three phases, the strategy was effectively launched last year with Phase 1 (2016-2020) envisioning the launch of a Top Omani Tourism Experience, a programme of Authentic Omani Experiences, the additional of 5.620 new hotel rooms, generation of over 76,000 new direct job opportunities and the implementation of leadership and empowerment initiatives.

Conrad Prabhu