Massive Oman convention center to open in 2016

Published May 22nd, 2015 - 12:23 GMT

Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC), the sultanate’s landmark business events hub, has revealed its latest 3D structures and aerial drone images in the lead up to its opening in 2016.

The images were revealed at a press conference held in Imex Frankfurt 2015, the leading worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events, in Germany.

OCEC general manager Trevor McCartney said the opening of the exhibition halls and hospitality suites will be a truly memorable occasion, changing the face of events in the region and putting the global spotlight on Oman as the new centre of opportunity.

The centre is located in its own fully integrated precinct about 4 km from the Muscat International Airport.

The centre will feature two tiered auditoriums to seat 3,200 and 450 people, while the five exhibition halls will feature 22,000 square meters of column-free exhibition space. Hall One will have a superior fit-out, specialised acoustic treatment, advanced lighting and rigging requirements to act as a multi-purpose space for plenary sessions, concerts, performances and gala dinners on a larger scale. Halls One and Two combined will seat up to 10,000 in theatre style.

The centre will also include an additional 13 meeting rooms for 80 to 300 delegates, two well-appointed ballrooms to seat up to 2,590, 10 hospitality suites, a VIP pavilion, a spacious food-court and a multi-storey car park with a capacity for 4,000 vehicles.

The precinct includes a five-star hotel linked to the convention centre, two four-star properties, a three-star hotel and apartments with a combined total of 1,000 rooms. A business park and a retail shopping mall, surrounded by a nature reserve, which will be a haven for Oman’s exotic birdlife, together with parklands and a wadi (valley) park, are also part of this picturesque precinct.
"Our collaboration with the Oman Ministry of Tourism at Imex over the last four years, and this most recent one in particular, has showcased the sultanate as a formidable international events destination and intellectual knowledge hub, with the OCEC as its driving force and catalyst,” said McCartney.
Oman’s current meetings and conventions industry offer, ahead of the opening of the OCEC, was endorsed when it was ranked, for the first time, in the top 80 countries worldwide by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), one of the most preeminent global meetings organisations, a statement from the centre said.

The attraction of Oman as a business events destination has also been underpinned by the latest World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report, placing Oman at an impressive ninth position out of 141 countries worldwide under the security and safety criteria, it said.

Sharing the statistics at an Imex media conference, McCartney said: “The most recent WTTC report on Oman, and indeed the many international accolades the sultanate has received in the last year, is a positive affirmation of Oman’s tourism strategy. Striving to become a pioneer in business events in the Arabian Gulf, the OCEC is enormously proud to be a major force in the momentum of the industry.”

The OCEC and its surrounding precinct is expected to contribute well over $400 million to Oman's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, he said.

Dr Ali bin Masood al-Sunaidy, chairman of Omran, the government mandated organisation for the development of major tourism projects in Oman, said: “The OCEC plays a key role in the government’s vision for the diversification of the national economy and stands as the centrepiece of Oman’s business development programme. The development will position the sultanate as a major venue for regional and international events and in doing so, will increase Oman’s business tourism offerings and strengthen the sector at large.”

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