Oman's tourism industry to lead the Middle East in 2014
Tourism activities are expected to increase by 5.4 percent, boosting Oman's economy (File/AFP)
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Oman will lead the Middle East in the travel and tourism sector in 2014 with a 10.2 percent growth amounting to RO1.08 billion ($2.8 billion) over the 2013 figures of RO982.8 million, a report said.
The country is well-positioned to post one of the most robust growth rates worldwide in the sector in the coming year, added the annual Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2014 issued by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), an international organisation of travel industry executives.
The surge in travel and tourism activities is expected to grow by 5.4 percent per annum to Oman’s GDP to reach RO1.834 billion, by 2024, which is 3.9 per cent of GDP.
The WTTC’s annual report states that the total contribution of travel and tourism sector, including investments, supply chain and induced income impacts, amounts to twice its direct contribution to Oman’s GDP.
The sector’s total contribution the country’s GDP was RO 2.078 billion, a 6.4 per cent of the total GDP in 2013, which is expected to go up by 9.4 per cent to reach RO2.274 billion in 2014. By 2024, the total contribution of travel and tourism sector to Oman’s GDP is expected to rise by 5.5 per cent per annum to reach RO3.884 billion, which is 8.2 percent of the GDP, according to the report.
Ghasi Humaid Al Hashmi, deputy director General of Tourism Promotion, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said: “We are delighted with The World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2014 report as it reflects Oman’s booming travel and tourism sector.”
“The construction of world-class hotels and resorts along with the development of a number of infrastructure projects in the aviation, road, rail and maritime sectors, including a $1.8 billion passenger terminal at the Muscat International Airport and transformation of the Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat into a tourism and cruise ship precinct, are part of the government’s strategy to target more global targeted tourists.
“The growth in the travel and tourism sector will also result in the creation of more job opportunities in the sector, thus boosting chances of employment for Omanis, which will definitely have a positive effect on the country’s economy,” he added.
According to WTTC, in 2013, Oman’s travel and tourism sector supported 37,000 direct jobs (3.3 per cent total employment). It is expected to grow by 11.4 per cent to reach 41,000 jobs in 2014.
This is one of the strongest growth worldwide and the fastest in the Middle East, the report said.
It further added that in total, the travel and tourism sector gave employment to 72,000 people in 2013.
It is predicted to offer 79,500 jobs in 2014, an increase of 10.6 per cent, while by 2024 it will create 60,000 direct jobs, an increase of 3.9 per cent per annum over the next 10 years.
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