Muscat: His Excellency Salem bin Mohammed Al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, confirmed that the tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman is witnessing steady growth in all fields, expressing his hope that the tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product will reach 2.75 per cent during the next two years, compared to 2.4 per cent by the end of 2022.
His Excellency said in a statement to the Oman News Agency that the contribution of the Omani tourism sector to the gross domestic product amounted to OMR 1.07 billion in 2022 out of total revenues amounting to OMR 1.9 billion in the same year. The number of tourists is also constantly rising both at the level of domestic tourism and the tourist flow from outside the Sultanate of Oman.
His Excellency added that there is an intensive plan to promote all tourism components, and the financial tools and resources that will be employed in this aspect in the coming year have been approved through qualitative international events that will represent milestones in the promotional plan, most notably the announcement of the Sultanate of Oman as the official partner of the largest international exhibitions in Tourism Industry "Berlin Travel and Tourism Exchange 2024".
HE Salem Al-Mahrouqi pointed out that the targeted investment volume during the comprehensive tourism development plan (2021-2025) is OMR 3 billion, and there are some challenges facing some investors with regard to financing aspects or some challenges related to existing coalitions, stressing that the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is closely monitoring It is careful and looks at the possibilities and appropriate solutions to these challenges through a program that is being worked on during this period to come up with a set of appropriate solutions to address the most prominent challenges of the tourism sector in cooperation and coordination with the sector’s partners.
He said that there are tourism projects that will be opened during the coming period in a number of governorates of the Sultanate of Oman, and that there is a huge and diversified investment program that includes all governorates, as this program is currently being managed and entering into the negotiation phase with a number of investors at the internal and external levels.
Regarding the implementation of tourism development plans in the governorates, His Excellency the Minister of Heritage and Tourism confirmed that the Ministry is focusing on integrated tourism plans, aiming to develop some promising tourist destinations in order to develop them in harmony with various sectors and national programs to direct investment and promotional efforts towards maximising the benefit from these plans, to serve as integrated destinations for tourists, it maximises business opportunities and provides jobs.
His Excellency said that the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is working on a special program for the labour market in the tourism sector in direct cooperation with the National Employment Programme to achieve a number of goals related to the localisation of jobs, training, and creating professional standards for jobs in the tourism sector, including an initiative to qualify a number of Omanis to assume the positions of general managers in four hotels and five stars.
His Excellency, the Minister of Heritage and Tourism explained that growth in the tourism sector is accompanied by responsibilities regarding the effects that may result from the intensity of tourist traffic so that there are no damages affecting the environment or worrying local communities. Therefore, the Ministry works through a special sustainability program that covers the economic, social and environmental aspects, in addition to adopting a local content policy that primarily aims to benefit local communities from tourism and its sustainability.
His Excellency Salem bin Mohammed Al Mahrouqi pointed out that it is important to have specific policies and procedures that deal with this existing situation, especially since the world is going through a transitional phase with regard to climate impacts that negatively affect the tourism sector as well as other sect