With the ongoing development of the tourism infrastructure, expansion of Oman's airports and integrated tourism complexes (ITCs), the sultanate hopes to increase the share of tourism in the gross domestic product (GDP) to three per cent by 2020 from 2.4 per cent at present.
Speaking at the Arab Aviation and Media Summit on Wednesday, H E Maitha al Mahrouqi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism, said, "The tourism sector's contribution to Oman's GDP is currently at 2.4 per cent and we want to grow it to three per cent under Vision 2020. We have made massive investments in the industry and are working on different initiatives, of which ITC projects and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center (OCEC) are the major ones."
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event H E Mahrouqi said that the ongoing development and expansion of airports in the sultanate will play a big role in the growth of the industry.
"The aviation sector is very important for the growth of the tourism industry and it is very important that the tourism and aviation sectors work in tandem. The number of hotel rooms and keys are growing with the growth of the aviation sector," She said.
H E Mahrouqi added,"The source market for Oman tourism has been regional countries, but Europe is a big market and Asia is also booming. We are looking to develop these sources markets."
Organised by Air Arabia in association with the Ministry of Tourism, Airbus, CFM and CNBC Arabia, this year's Arab Aviation and Media Summit was themed "Aviation and Tourism: Enabler of Economic Growth."
The summit focused on increased regional and international participation to showcase how the aviation industry can best contribute to the development of tourism.
Unveiling Airbus' 2013 global market forecast, Andrew Gordon, director of strategic marketing and analysis market forecast at Airbus, said the Middle East region has lead the world's air traffic and tourism growth in 2012.
Gordon said, "The Middle East is outpacing world economic growth and Oman is expected to outpace Middle East growth."
He added that low-cost carriers have grown the traffic in the Middle East and the market share of budget carriers was 14 per cent in 2012 in the Middle East market.
"With economic growth being the main driver, the Middle East fleets will grow 2.5 times by 2031. In the next 20 years, there will be demand for 1,960 new passenger aircrafts in the Middle East," Gordon added.