15 May, 2012
Oman’s resort and hotel portfolio continues to expand with over 2,000 additional rooms scheduled for opening in 2012/ 2013. Muscat sees the most growth with the addition of 726 rooms, while niche resorts are set to open in Salalah, Khasab and in the high altitude Hajar Mountains. Duqm, Oman’s new city on the Arabian Sea, sees the opening of three hotels with a total of 391 rooms. The portfolio sees continued strengthening and diversification of Muscat’s room supply, and also increasing focus on regional projects from Khasab in the north to Oman’s southern gateway, Salalah.
Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism said, “Oman is seeing strong investor demand in the sector, especially in niche properties. This is from government sponsored joint ventures through OMRAN and increasing Omani participation. Overall, our approach is to ensure 5 star developments are located in 5 star natural landscapes. This approach gives us a competitive edge and fuels investment demand.”
OMRAN is the company set up by the Government of Oman to deliver major projects and to manage assets and investments in the tourism sector.
Unlike previous years, the pattern of investment shows significant investment commitment in regional areas including Oman’s new city on the Sea of Arabia (Duqm) where three hotels will come online, but also in Oman’s high altitude Hajar Mountains where both government and private sector investment is on the rise.
For the past two years, both the Oman Ministry of Tourism’s Hajar Mountain summer campaign and Salalah Tourism Festival promotional activities have been pitched at day visitors from Muscat and GCC visitors arriving by land vehicle. Visitor numbers have soared with investors responding with three major resorts to open on Jabal Al Akhdar, adding to the Sunrise Resort on Jabal Asar’h near Jabal Shams that opened in early 2012.
Property group Muriya opened its Sifawy Boutique Hotel at Jabal Sifah (50 km east of Muscat) in early 2012. The group’s Juweira Boutique Hotel at Salalah Beach Resort (64 suites and 21 guest rooms) is set to open in the coming months. The year 2013 will see more hotels open at the Jabal Sifah and Salalah Beach Resorts.
Oman’s entry into the global business and meetings market will accelerate with the opening of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) from 2015. The OCEC project comprises a 3,000 seat plenary hall, 40,000m2 of exhibition space, business centre and four hotels totaling 1,000 rooms.
Several new hotel openings are also scheduled at The Wave and the InterContinental Hotel site.