Oman’s hotel supply tops 22K rooms in 2018

MUSCAT, SEPT 21 – Hotel capacity in the Sultanate has almost doubled over the past nine years to round 22 thousand rooms in 2018, up from around 12 thousand in 2011, entailing a growth of around 82 per cent over this period, according to a top hospitality executive.
Peter Walichnowski (pictured), CEO — Omran Group (Oman Tourism Development Company), however noted that occupancy levels currently average 50-55 per cent, which is well below the overall 70 per cent level necessary for properties to generate a healthy return on their investments.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Tourism and Transport’, organised by Modern College of Business and Science (MCBS) at the Muscat InterContinental Hotel last week, Walichnowski said that room supply presently outstrips demand broadly in trend with an economic model that espouses an emphasis on building supply first and then driving demand.
Oman, the CEO said, has performed commendably in building the support infrastructure necessary for the growth of a strong tourism and hospitality industry. This is evident in the newly built airport landmarks, modern roads for enhanced connectivity, the range of luxury hotels, and other support infrastructure, notably the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Efforts are now focused on making sure that some of the growing numbers of visitors arriving through Oman’s airports actually have a positive impact on hotel occupancy, said Walichnowski.
Thus, while the developers are focusing on introducing the product in the form of Integrated Tourism Complexes, hotels, convention facilities and so on, the government — for its part — will work on the “demand generators”, related to, among other things, visa regulations, promoting second home purchases in Oman, encouraging SMEs to infiltrate the sector to help drive demand, and so on.
Significantly, the bulk of new room capacity (55 per cent) has come up in Muscat Governorate, while Dhofar accounted for a 25 per cent share. The largest increase in room capacity was seen in the 2-star category and below, he said.
In the luxury and upscale segments, the capital city has around 1,100 room keys of new capacity due for completion over the next four years, according to Omran’s CEO. This is in addition to around 560 keys in the 4-star category, he added.