Oman’s emerging tourism sector boosts its economy

Oman's tourism industry is significantly enhancing the country's economic landscape. Recent efforts to diversify the economy beyond oil revenues have focused on promoting the nation's rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes. Government-led initiatives contribute to the sector transformation. As a result, Oman is poised to attract more international visitors and achieve new heights in its tourism sector.

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Recent research by the global tourism body indicates that in 2023, the Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP contribution increased by nearly 35%, reaching OMR 2.8 billion, and is on track to exceed previous records. The sector also experienced a 15% growth in employment, now providing jobs to 191,500 people nationwide.

Furthermore the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC)  reveals a promising outlook for Oman’s Travel & Tourism sector. Supported by strong governmental backing and strategic initiatives, the sector is expected to achieve new heights this year. According to the report, the sector's GDP contribution is projected to exceed OMR 3.3 billion in 2024, accounting for 7.6% of the country’s total economy. By 2034, the WTTC predicts the sector’s annual GDP contribution will rise to OMR 5.4 billion, representing 9.8% of Oman’s economy, and will support over 265,600 jobs nationwide, with one in every thirteen residents employed in the sector.

BMI, a Fitch Solutions company, projects a 24.7% year-on-year increase in tourist arrivals to Oman in 2024, reaching a total of 5.3 million visitors. This will mark a new high, building on the previous peak of 4 million visitors in 2023. By the end of January 2024, airport passenger traffic had already risen by 21.6%, totaling 1,417,442 passengers.

Oman plans to invest $31 billion in its tourism sector by 2040 to attract more international visitors. In 2023, the country welcomed a record-breaking 4 million visitors, up from 2.9 million in 2022, marking an increase of almost 38%. Among these, 231,000 visitors were from Germany, an increase of 182% compared to the previous year (Middle East Monitor).

The Ministry of Heritage and Culture aims to create a thriving environment for tourism through measures such as simplifying visa applications and easing restrictions for citizens of over 100 countries. Additionally, the Ministry plans significant investments in infrastructure and attractions, with over US$5.9 billion currently directed towards more than 360 projects.

Focus on Tourism Innovation

Under the theme “Empowering Innovation – Transforming Travel through Entrepreneurship,” Oman presented showcase its dynamic tourism sector at the Arabian Travel Market Exhibition 2024. Led by His Excellency Azzan bin Qasim Al Busaidi, the Omani delegation focused on its latest advancements in travel technology and sustainable tourism practices.

This strategic participation aimed to forge new international partnerships, exchange valuable knowledge, and highlight Oman’s growing tourism capabilities on a global stage. With participation from more than 36 companies, Oman spotlighted its unique cultural and natural attractions, including the much-anticipated Khareef Dhofar season and various summer promotional activities designed to attract global tourists (Breaking Travel News).

Overall, the strategic growth of tourism in Oman is expected to continue bolstering the country's economic health and international reputation. This approach not only enriches the economic landscape but also helps preserve and showcase Oman’s cultural and natural treasures to a global audience and position itself as an international tourism hub.

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