Spanish firm to develop Dhofar tourism plan in Oman

By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT: Jan 21 – Spanish-based international tourism consultancy firm THR (also known as Innovative Tourism Advisors) has announced that it has been contracted by Oman’s Supreme Council for Planning to develop a Tourism Development Master-Plan for Dhofar Governorate. Dhofar, according to the Barcelona-headquartered company, is one of five zones identified by Oman’s authorities as key to underpinning an energetic phase of tourism development over the 2016-2020 timeframe.  The National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh) has proposed the formulation of Tourism Development Master-Plans for each of the five zones.
“The Tourism Master Plan that THR has initiated will provide the policy framework for the development, management, monitoring and long- term sustainability of the region’s tourism sector for the next 15 years,” said THR in a statement. “It will include a thorough review of all of Dhofar’s assets, identifying the biggest opportunities for growth, recognising the main obstacles, and looking at how they can be overcome.”
Dhofar has of late pulled in hundreds of millions of Omani rials in investment in upscale Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs), luxury hotels and resorts, water parks and leisure developments and numerous hotel apartments.
The upgrade and modernization of Salalah International Airport and the upcoming launch of a Salalah-based budget carrier are also aiding the transformation of Dhofar Governorate into a year-round holiday and leisure destination beyond its seasonal appeal limited to the khareef (monsoon) and winter months.
In fact, a key part of THR’s brief is to position Dhofar Governorate as a “preferred year-round destination” for both domestic and international tourists interested in its natural and cultural heritage, rich traditions and history.
Another key objective of the master-plan is to make tourism a more dynamic section of Dhofar’s economy, notably by promoting the development of the tourism industry through long-term public and private sector partnerships on a local and regional basis, says THR.
Significantly, THR is also assisting Oman’s Ministry of Tourism in the implementation of a long-term Oman Tourism Strategy 2040 — an ambitious initiative designed to support the creation of more than 500,000 new jobs in the sector over the next 25 years.
An overview of the strategy was unveiled at a meeting hosted by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry last July.  It identifies 14 areas as potential tourism zones around the Sultanate and moots a phased road map for boosting room capacity in hotels, hotel apartments, campsites and other tourism-related properties to 80,000 units by 2040.