The outlook for new resorts and hotels in Oman  looks promising with over 3,000 hotel rooms due for completion by the end of 2014, with prospects to 2017 looking extremely bright. Hotel room capacity in Oman is forecast to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.3 per cent over the period 2011 to 2016 and the country currently has approximately 5,331 rooms - or seven per cent of GCC’s expected supply - under development.
With massive government support and many private developers also joining the fray, the hotel industry has seen a major turnaround in the last few years as number of new rooms have being added to the overall capacity of the sultanate. Some of the private developers who opened early in the year include the 74-room City Centre Hotel in Seeb, 40-room Musab Al Alawi Hotel Apartments near Muscat airport, 34-room and three luxury suite Wadi Shab Resort in Tiwi called the mountain resort or 360 degree sea view resort, and the Sunrise Resort in Jebel Asar’h with 28 facilities comprising single and double bed chalets, family chalets, Arabian tents and private rooms. Another private development, a mountain resort hotel at Diana’s Point in Jebel Akhdar is likely to be opened late 2013.
With the launch of commercial activity at Duqm Commercial Port and the start of the three weekly flights between Muscat and Duqm in November 2012, visitors to the region have grown multifold. Opening at the opportune time in April, the 213-room beach-front Crowne Plaza Duqm, developed by Omran, is set to capture the corporatetravel market as it is located near the rapidly-expanding port and dry dock at Duqm. This is Inter- Continental Hotels Group’s fourth Crowne Plaza property after one each in Muscat, Sohar and Salalah.
H E Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, said, “The development projects now in planning or construction stage will put Oman’s tourism industry on a new footing. Omran is on track to complete niche resorts in Khasab and Jebel Akhdar, and the construction of new hotels  and visitor facilities are starting in Muscat and Salalah, while the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) is on track to open in Q1 2017. These ‘next generation’ developments take into account community, environment values and our consumer segments. Our focus continues to be on quality, ‘leading edge authenticity’ and beautiful Oman. We are looking to boost our competitiveness and provide sustainable jobs across the country.”
Omran, the government tourism development and asset management company, is making a pivotal contribution to the sector’s development outcomes. The company is leading the delivery of several major joint venture projects valued at around US$1.6bn (RO616mn). The coming year will see the opening of resorts at Khasab and Jebel Akhdar.
The three-star, 110-room Musandam Resort in Khasab with its own dive centre, will form part of a bustling tourism hub in the Musandam Peninsula. While the development of Dakhliyah governorate as a premium tourist destination will get a boost with the five-star Alila Jebel Akhdar Resort scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2014. The ministry sees Oman’s nation building projects such as airports, Oman Air’s international expansion, fast ferries and improved communications as the platforms for tourism growth , with local and international investors responding accordingly.
Oman Air recently announced the leasing of an additional two Boeing B738 aircraft to boost the frequency and capacity of services to India, aiming at twice daily services to all major cities. Further, the National Ferries Company earlier in the year commenced Shinas-Khasab services, and very recently got the delivery of its fourth fast ferry Al Halaniyat. The long-term prospects look equally promising, with the auditorium and hotel projects at OCEC scheduled to be ready by 2016.
“The final completion of the entire project depends on the market uptake for business and the completion of various phases,” said Omran chief executive Eng Wael al Lawati. With the exhibition hall at OCEC to be completed by the end of 2015, Lawati hoped to host the first event at OCEC by the end of 2015.