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Tourism sector comes together for 2nd Get Connected Forum at the Ministry of Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism hosts 2nd Get Connected Forum
Tourism sector comes together for 2nd Get Connected Forum at the Ministry of Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism organized the 2nd edition of the ‘Get Connected Forum’ for the tourism sector, under the patronage of H.E. Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, the Minister of Tourism,’ at the Ministry’s Auditorium recently. The meeting was held in the presence of senior officials, specialists from the Ministry of Tourism; and witnessed the participation of officials and representatives from several other government entities, private sector institutions and other establishments operating in the tourism sector.

The Forum was organized with the aim to facilitate direct-communication between various entities and institutions in the Omani tourism sector. In keeping with the same – H.E. Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi said, “We hope that the 2nd Get Connected Forum has achieved its goal of effectively communicating the initiatives and projects that reflect the ongoing development in the tourism sector, as well as the new services that the sector will provide for citizens and tourists.”

He continued, “Each and every establishment that is involved in the tourism sector is considered an important component of a promising and strong tourism market, which contributes in achieving the ministry’s vision and enriching the diversification of the economy. Hence making it imperative for us to organize forums of this nature, which positively affect the development of the tourism sector.”

“In addition to highlighting the current mega-projects that are expected to be established in the near future, the forum meeting aimed to shed light on the joint efforts that are being carried out by the Ministry in collaboration with all related parties of the Forum, to equip all concerned, to deal with the challenges that have been discussed during the first meeting in 2014, together”, he added.

The agenda of the 2nd Forum included identifying the progress made by the Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with concerned authorities, regarding the challenges discussed in the Forum’s first edition. Additionally, it also highlighted the latest developments in the sector’s projects, and initiatives taken by the Ministry and key stakeholders involved in tourism services such as Oman Air, Oman Sail and Omran.

During the Forum, topics related to Oman’s Tourism Strategy 2040 were reviewed and discussed. Topics such as: the 15 tourism initiatives within the national program to promote economic diversification, the tourism projects that have already been and that will be signed during the current and next stage. STR International, which is specialized in tourism sector indicators, had also made a presentation on topics related to hotels’ supply, demand, and performance in the Middle East and GCC in general, and in Oman specifically.

Specialists from the Ministry of Tourism gave a presentation of the main roles, objectives and plans of the Ministry, and its continuous communication with various parties that are related to tourism; thereby facilitating procedures, and developing the sector’s performance. This, according to them, will help contribute to increasing the number of tourists that visit the Sultanate, in line with the economic plans of the Sultanate.

During the presentation, the Ministry’s Plan was also discussed within the purview of the 9th Five-Year Plan 2020; which aims to attract the private sector investments of OMR 1.8 billion, as well as increase added value in the tourism sector to OMR 1 billion.

The presentation highlighted the areas that needed to be focused on, in order to achieve the objectives of the Plan – areas such as adventure tourism, sports tourism, heritage and cultural tourism, events and conferences hosted by the Sultanate, as well as leisure tourism were mentioned, based on the recommendations and requests of the Tanfeedh lab, which is considered as the beginning of the National Program of Economic Diversification.

With regard to the manpower in the tourism sector, the Forum shed light on the current Omanization rates in projects operating in the sector, having reviewed the local market and the recommendation of tourism’s experts that included a study conducted by the National Program for Economic Diversification. Based on the same, the Ministry of Manpower is collaborating to provide training strategies to the national labor workforce and to attract the workforce with expertise to add to the tourism sectors.

The Forum also included a review of the major integrated tourism projects and the period of time that each project will take to near completion. Currently 11 projects are underway in Muscat, Salalah, Ras al Hadd, Barka and other areas of the Sultanate. The presentation also explained that similar projects are in the pipeline from Omran.

The increase in the number of hotel establishments and the Ministry’s expectations regarding the opening of new hotels during 2017 and 2018, were also discussed at the Forum. The Ministry announced the opening of new tourism markets to attract tourists to the Sultanate, and facilitate tourism exchange, as the Ministry collaborated with the Royal Oman Police to facilitate procedures for tourists who are coming from China, Russian, and Iran. A presentation detailing the electronic VISA project, that explained the desired goals and ambitions of the Ministry of Tourism, with regard to their importance in attracting more tourists was also made.

The most important promotional campaigns which were carried out by the Ministry of Tourism were also presented at the Forum, the most prominent being the – “Discover Oman’s Beauty” campaign, that was carried out from January till September last year. It focused on the collaboration of tourism institutions and establishments to promote tourism sites in the Sultanate to the GCC as well as Oman, and has achieved a remarkable success, as the sultanate witnessed more than 5,500 bookings within 20 weeks of its launch. The same also resulted in the acquiring of a revenue of over Omani Rials Half a Million from just hotel establishments. In addition to this – efforts to find innovative ways to promote the Ministry by using social networking sites and digital platforms were also reviewed.

Representatives from Oman Air made a presentation at the Forum, and highlighted the efforts made by the national carrier to expand their network of destinations and services. The presentation also showed Oman Air’s achievements in the last phase and their efforts to promote the Sultanate through more than 55 major campaigns in 2016; that included the use of various media vehicles and channels across the world.

A presentation was also made by representatives from the “Marhaba Taxi for Company”, which will initially be targeting the tourism sector. The presentation explained the company’s initiatives to better serve the tourism sector by providing modern cars which are prepared for tourism purposes. The same includes the organizing and training of taxi owners, and providing mobile phone applications that enable consumer to request taxis.

Representatives from Oman Sail explained that the organization is promoting the Sultanate and its abundant tourism components in various large international markets. The presentation outlined various promotional, sports, cultural and social objectives and aspects of the company’s strategy of promoting the tourism in Oman.

Additionally, representatives from Salalah Airline and the National Hospitality Institute highlighted the main services of their strategic plan for the next phase.

During the Forum, representatives from Omran also made presentations – related to the company’s plans and projects that are currently underway to support tourism in Oman.

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