Tourism recovery depends on domestic tourists

Muscat: Many tourism destinations in Europe, Asia and Middle East have to focus their efforts towards a national tourism strategy in promoting and developing local tourism markets and packages for a new segment of tourists, says Prof Angelo Battaglia, Professor in Tourism Planning and Strategy at Oman Tourism College (OTC), Head of Tourism and Management Department.

After the end of COVID-19 pandemic, this could define ‘domestic tourists’ which the professor hopes the global tourism market to recover soon, taking back the same numbers of international tourist arrivals experienced during the last 5 years from 2014-2019, where many countries as developed and emerging destinations have seen a growth of their respective tourism markets.

Prof Battaglia told Observer that with a specific reference to the Sultanate market and tourism landscapes, he strongly believes that the new emerging tourism experiences for the incoming season from October-November should focus on the Omani communities and domestic tourism as new segments of growth.
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), the local and regional authorities and the hospitality sector are planning a very important strategy to develop the internal and domestic market, he adds.

He also believes that it will be very interesting to understand and analyse the priorities of these new tourism segments based in the Sultanate and develop and design a number of packages specifically customised for Omani and expatriate-resident communities based here.
The great ‘beauty’ of the Sultanate, he says, is its different natural ecosystems, landscapes and resources spread over a variety of natural environments and cultural features which represent a crucial dimension in implementing and developing a domestic market that could appreciate the ‘multi-dimensional offer’ of the Sultanate.

 

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Domestic tourism is the present and the future of tourism in the Sultanate as main category of visitors and represents a vibrant market that can discover the different dimensions of tourism; paying attention to the hospitality capacity or offers based on new and consolidate structures, resorts and hotels.

Prof Battaglia believes the most relevant thing for developing this new kind of tourism is defined these days from UNWTO and other international organisation as ‘staycation’, which provides specific promotion to local Omani communities.

He also suggests that it will be strategically important to develop a marketing tourism campaign promotion by social media namely Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or designing special offers and family-special-packages for Omani people and their communities.

“I am sure that the domestic tourism will be exciting and will be a surprise for the tour-operators and tourism stakeholders for the next 12 months, until we will be sure that the international tourism market will start again globally, respecting and following all the safety measures in terms of health regulations, visa procedures and flight connections related to COVID-19 issue,” concludes Prof Battaglia.