Oman looks to private sector for $28B funding of new tourism strategy
Oman's strategy hinges on Oman’s potential as a destination for ‘adventure tourism’ because of its nature, mountains and unspoilt beauty. (Wikipedia)
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The Omani government is seeking upwards of $28 billion of investment from the private sector to help it to achieve its aim of doubling visitor numbers by 2040, a tourism ministry official told Arabian Business.
Oman this week unveiled a 20-year strategy to double visitor numbers from 2.4 million to five million by 2040.
The sultanate said it wants to grow the contribution of travel and tourism to more than six percent of annual GDP – it is currently estimated to account for around 2.5 percent.
The strategy hinges on developing the tourist spots of Musandam, the Hajar Mountains, the Frankincense Trail in Salalah, the city of Muscat and the surrounding deserts.
In an interview with Arabian Business at the ATM travel conference in Dubai, Salim Al Mamari, director-general of tourism promotion at the Ministry of Tourism, revealed that the government needs OR17 billion ($35 billion) in order to implement the 20-year strategy.
It is targeting at least 80 percent of this – around $28 billion – as coming from the private sector, he said. Ministry officials have begun talks with a range of prospective investors and the majority of interest is coming from Europe, Asia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The government has not yet decided how it will fund the remaining 20 percent and whether it will need to borrow, Al Mamari added.
He said the strategy hinges on Oman’s potential as a destination for ‘adventure tourism’ because of its nature, mountains and unspoilt beauty.
Developing the five tourism clusters would be a fine balance, he added, to ensure that the rugged beauty of Oman is not destroyed by overdevelopment.
As such, the ministry is focusing on quality, not quantity, of visitors – “I’m sure many people will think reaching six million tourists by 2040 is quite a small figure,” he said.
Dubai, for example, is targeting 20 million visitors by 2020.
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