Revitalization Of Tourism Sector Planned With Investments Worth RO 3 Billion

Muscat: During a session held with the Majlis A’ Shura, The Minister of Heritage and Tourism – Salim Mohammed al Mahrouqi, confirmed that a new law is being drafted for the benefit of the Tourism Sector. 

The session was held to discuss the severity of the impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic and additional topics such as the future trends of tourism and marketing and manpower allotment towards the tourism industry.

Al – Mahrouqi further commented, “Ministry has intensified efforts to build an integrated system for the management of tombstones and monuments, to sustain protect, document, restore, and maintain them in specialized museums, in addition to registering a number of them in the World Heritage list. Besides, the ministry is keen to activate studies for developing craft industries, and converting them into investment projects in coordination with the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Riyada)”

Noting the significant growth of the tourism industry in the yesteryears, the Minister commented, “The sector’s total production reaches RO 1.3 billion by the end of 2019, with a direct added value of RO 718 million, compared to RO 700 million in 2018, which constitutes 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product. The number of inbound visitors has risen to t 3.5 million visitors in 2019”.

With respect to the impact of the pandemic, the minister commented, “Tourism sector has been affected by the Corona pandemic since the first quarter of last year, which led to a decrease of 75 percent, bringing the number to 875,000 visitors. The number of hotel guests decreased by 52 percent, and this was reflected in its revenues which dropped by 63 percent compared to 2019.”

With respect to future plans, the minister clarified, “The ministry’s plan for tourism promotion during the next three years is to target international or regional conferences and exhibitions, and to focus on the meetings sector and incentive groups regionally and internationally through the representative tourism offices,”. He added further stating, “There is a plan and intensive work by the ministry in cooperation with the concerned authorities to take advantage of the Expo 2021 Dubai and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, to attract tourists and take advantage of the opportunities in this aspect”.

All in all, the ministry aims at raising investments worth RO 3 Billion over the next three years with lucrative programs and exports being aimed to attract investors. There were talks on length on how to tap into better utilize Oman’s tourism hotspots with improved regulations for sites such as Sharqiya Sands, cultural, adventure, and geological tourism.