MUSCAT: Oman’s travel industry is poised for an unprecedented growth over the next 15 years, as per results of a recent study commissioned by Amadeus, a technology provider for the travel industry.
The report, ‘Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Big Travel Effects’ was presented by the Amadeus team during a press conference at the Al Falaj Hotel on Tuesday.
The report suggests that diversification of the economy and a youth-driven population may be among the key drivers of growth in Oman’s travel sector.
It also states that the increasing focus of GCC countries on enhancing their destination offerings is positioning the tourism sector as a key contributor to regional economies. More specifically, massive investments on infrastructural development and destination attractions are driving the region’s speciality tourism sectors such as sports, medical and cruise tourism on a global level. For example, the Ministry of Tourism has joined hands with the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Dubai’s Department of Tourism to peg the Arabian Peninsula as an emerging cruise destination in the world. As a case in point, Port Sultan Qaboos is already being developed into a dedicated cruise port as part of the government’s 2020 vision.
With the number of cruise tourists increasing year-on-year, the region is expecting 1.6mn cruise tourists by the year 2020 and 2.1mn by 2030.
Antoine Medawar, vice president, MENA, Amadeus, said, “Oman’s beaches are already luring tourists from across the globe, and the nation continues to invest heavily on expanding its ports and developing infrastructure. Medical tourism facilities and services are also being fast-tracked and stepped-up. Such developments will definitely result in the expansion of the tourism market that is set for a period of sustained growth in the coming decade.”
Another finding of the study is the impact of Oman’s youth-driven demographics on the travel industry. Today, nearly 26 per cent of Oman’s population is under 15 years of age. And, as this population becomes tomorrow’s decision makers, traditional travel behaviour is set to witness a transformation.
Graham Nichols, managing director, Amadeus Gulf, said, “Oman, along with UAE and Qatar, are leading the race in boosting the hospitality sector ahead of the mega sporting events. A combination of factors, supported by governmental initiatives to ease intra and extra-regional movement, will have a positive impact on Oman’s travel sector.”
SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY