The annual Arabian Travel Market roadshow series kicks off its 2015 calendar later this week with the team heading to The Chedi Muscat on 19th February to meet with key industry players to discuss how to optimise Oman’s tourism development showcase at this year’s ATM.
Exhibitors from the Sultanate at ATM 2015, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 4-7 May, include the Oman Ministry of Tourism, which is participating with a 280-square metre stand and Oman Air taking more than 82 square metres of space.
With more than US$ 3.3 billion worth of high profile tourism projects currently under development in the Sultanate, the country is rapidly expanding its existing tourism offering with luxury brand leaders set to make their hospitality debut and a number of important tourism and cultural projects also nearing completion.
“The Omani government is focused on plans to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon receipts and the country’s diverse geography, its improved land, air and sea infrastructure as well as its position as an under-exploited tourism destination, has helped secure significant regional and overseas investment,” said Nadege Noblet, Exhibition Manager
According to market intelligence from MEED, the list of projects planned or underway in Oman includes four museums/libraries, 24 hotels and resorts, six malls/shopping centres, one theatre, five sports stadia/leisure complexes, a theme park and four convention centres.
Of the top 10 projects currently under development in the country, which have a total investment value of just over US$3.3 billion, luxury hospitality is a major focus with Westin, St Regis and W all taking shape, as well as the new US$200 million Ritz-Carlton – The Muscat Reserve, and the high-end mixed-use Saraya Bandar Jissah Resort (managed by Jumeirah Group), valued at US$840 million.
Supporting infrastructure development projects include the long awaited Oman convention & Exhibition Centre, built at a cost of US$560 million, and the Al Futtaim Group’s US$468 million Mall of Oman.
“BMI forecasts 1.14 million tourist arrivals to Oman thus year, up by 3% on 2014 with tourism receipts reaching US$2.24 billion, up by 5% year-on-year; and with the delivery of high profile projects such as the Oman Convention Centre and Saraya Bandar Jissah Resort pegged for 2016 and 2017 respectively, the country’s key tourism players are shaping a unique premium destination in the region,” said Noblet.
In its Oman Tourism Report Q2 2015, BMI also highlights Asia as the largest market for inbound travel with strong potential for future growth with arrivals set to increase by 37.3% between 2014 and 2018.
According to official data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Oman’s four and five-star hotels saw a pick-up in guest room nights and revenues in 2014 with the Sultanate recording 26.1% growth in the guest numbers in December against the previous year and total year-on-year revenue growth of 10.3% rising from OMR 150,486 million to OMR 165,970 million.
Oman is one of four Middle East destinations being visited by the ATM team during its weeklong roadshow, which takes place in Qatar, Riyadh and Dubai.
Current and potential exhibitors attending the roadshow will learn about new event features including this year’s specialist sector theme, which is family travel, and the popular Tech Theatre sessions line-up, plus other marketing and PR tips to maximise their visibility at the show.
The ATM seminars return covering travel technology and other key industry issues such as luxury travel trends, business travel, aviation, Expo 2020, CSR and mid-scale hotels. Also returning are the visitor trails, helping visitors identify the specific travel sectors on the show floor including: shopping, career, budget, health and wellness, air and water travel.
The 2015 event will also build on the success of last year’s edition with the announcement of an additional hall adding an additional 2,000 square metres of floor space as Reed Travel Exhibitions looks to add to its record-breaking achievements in 2014. Last year ATM saw total attendance increase by 12% with 33,000 participants, from more than 131 countries and business deals signed worth more than US$ 2.1 billion over the four days.