Oman benefiting from instability in Middle East

Oman is benefiting from instability in the Middle East.

Figures indicate that regional instability has helped the nation expand income from its tourism industry by more than 15 per cent in the first four months of 2013.

Data released by STR Global, said, ‘Due to various reasons, tourists do not prefer Egypt and Syria. When compared to these places, Oman is safe and calm. It can be termed a relaxed destination. When compared to other tourist spots in the region, the locations in Oman are still virgin.’

Omanese tourism authorities said that the nation had a lot to offer tourists, which is a big reason for developing this revenue stream in the nation. Muscat is believed to have reported the strongest growth in the region.

Elizabeth Winkle, managing director of STR Global, a firm that offers statistics on the tourism industry, said, ‘The factors for performance include strong occupancy growth of 14.0 per cent to 77.3 per cent, while an already solid ADR increased 1.1 per cent to USD248. Oman has benefited from tremendous interest from the corporate sector with significant infrastructure investment and projects, such as Duqm Port. The corporate demand is coupled with strong leisure business, which is up 25.0 per cent.’

Data compiled by STR Global also showed that the Middle East and Africa region reported positive performance during April 2013.

Analysts also said that Oman has gained from the instability in Syria, Lebanon and other nations which have seen unsurprisingly negative effects from the Arab Spring.

Winkle said, ‘Beirut has struggled during the first four months of the year with RevPAR declines of (-31.0 per cent). Lebanon’s tourism industry continues to suffer because of the political instability in Syria and has recently appealed to its Gulf Cooperation Council neighbours to lift the travel advisory to Gulf nationals.’


IHG to open second Crowne Plaza hotel in Muscat

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest hotel group in terms of rooms, is set to open a new 296-room hotel under the Crowne Plaza brand in Muscat, the capital of Oman, after reaching an agreement with Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran).

Crowne Plaza already has a presence in Muscat, and three such branded hotels in the country as a whole. The latest addition, Crowne Plaza Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, will be a completely new building boasting extensive meeting and event facilities, including a ballroom. It will also host five restaurants – including one set on the rooftop, male and female Jacuzzi pools, a large fitness area, two swimming pools, and a children’s area.

The hotel will form part of a larger development precinct that is due to be completed in 2016. Situated 10 minutes from Muscat International Airport overlooking a Wadi and parklands, this development will include extensive exhibition space, a business park, and  a shopping centre.

His Excellency Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, Chairman of Omran, said at the signing ceremony, ‘Today marks a pivotal milestone in the development of the much anticipated OCEC as we sign with the first hotel operator to handle one of a series of planned hotels to complement this mega project. By formalizing this agreement with our preferred and trusted partner IHG to operate the 5-star facility, we are taking another step forward to establish the Sultanate as a favoured destination for the regional and global meetings and exhibitions industry. Based on our existing relations with IHG, we are confident that they will continue to realise our mission of delivering memorable hospitality assets that have a positive direct and indirect social and economic impact on local communities.’