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Oman’s tourism industry focuses on GCC & India, views Arabian Travel Market as platform for promoting intra-regional tourism

altOman’s Ministry of Tourism has refocused its industry marketing strategy against a backdrop of  regional events that have spurred demand for travel to the Gulf. While Oman will continue to strongly support traditional source markets, it will give greater priority to attracting short-term leisure and MICE business from the GCC and India. The Ministry also announced work on a global awareness campaign that will start in late 2011.

“The events of recent months have brought our industry together and reinforced the value of the GCC and Indian markets, with our latest discussions highlighting the underlying value of these areas. The Ministry takes the view that it is in the collective interest of all GCC tourism authorities to more aggressively promote the region in their respective communications to the travel trade and consumers, and to look at coordinated measures such as visas that promote intra-regional travel. The upcoming Arabian Travel Market is a valuable platform to spread this message,” said Salem Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotions, the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism.

Oman’s Ministry of Tourism is encouraging discussions on ways to make intra-regional travel easier, with emphasis on tapping the large transit markets travelling through the region’s aviation mega hubs.

“The growing transit passenger market is relatively unaffected by recent events in the Middle East so in an environment where passenger transit growth outstrips arrivals, it is in our common interest to think and act regionally in our communications and to bring forward practical measures to stimulate intra-regional travel,” added Al Mamari.

In the lead-up to the Arabian Travel Market, the Middle East’s leading travel market exhibition taking place from 2nd to 5th of May in Dubai, the Ministry of Tourism has already undertaken a major direct-to-consumer promotion in the UK in partnership with on-line travel agent LastMinute.com.

“We used the campaign as a soft launch for our summer campaign which has three components: resorts and hotels; the cool destinations of the Hajar Mountains, Oman’s East Coast and Masirah Island; and Dhofar/ Salalah – the destination of choice from July to late September when the ‘Khareef’ or southeast monsoon transforms Dhofar into a lush green landscape. You will see these elements showcased in the roll-out of our print and web collateral,” said Al Mamari.

This year’s Dhofar/ Salalah promotions will be boosted by Oman Air’s non-stop services from Dubai to Salalah starting May 4; the Ministry recently commended the decision to reinstate Salalah services. Dhofar has seen substantial investment into new tourism accommodations in recent years and Muriya’s Salalah Beach Resort has been significantly upgraded as well. The Ministry is working with the Dhofar Governorate on a campaign to position Dhofar as a year-round leisure and meetings destination. The Ministry also ran a major road show in India and hosted a major media trip from India in mid-April.

“Our recent work in the Indian market has piqued our interest and we are looking at a number of initiatives over summer. Indigo Airlines’ decision to start daily services between Mumbai and Muscat from next August is a positive indicator of growing travel demand for Oman and bodes well for our future tourism and hospitality links,” concluded Al Mamari.



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