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Tuesday, 25 September, 2018, 12 : 30 PM [IST]

Oman Tourism to shift focus to MICE promotions in Indian market

With all favourable factors in place – brand new airport terminal, new products by Oman Air connecting 11 cities in India, new world-class convention and exhibition centre, and simplified visa regime offering short-term visiting visa and e-visa, Oman Tourism would be shifting their gears as far as marketing and promotions are concerned to lure big MICE groups from markets like India. The 6th annual India roadshow of Oman Tourism which is currently travelling in India has a major focus on this growing segment.

“We are focusing on the MICE segment in a big way, and had very fruitful meetings with DMCs handling big corporate entities in Delhi. We had hosted many incentive groups in the past, but we are now looking at big corporate meetings and conventions groups as well,” said Maitha Saif Al Mahrouqi, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman. She said that all the strategic initiatives which the Government of Oman has taken since the beginning of the year are aimed at attracting more leisure and MICE visitors to the country.

She said that the state-of-the-art Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre has a massive infrastructure in terms of meetings, conferences and exhibitions to support both international and local events.

In order to encourage more inbound traffic to the country, Oman has introduced a new short-term tourist visa at OMR 5 in the beginning of the year for a 10-day stay. This is in addition to the existing e-Visa which is available for OMR 20.  “We also waive visa fee in some cases as part of incentivising large groups,” she said.

She said that the national carrier Oman Air has a modern fleet operating on India routes which has adequate number of Business class seats ranging from 20 to 40 for the convenience of business and corporate travellers.
Talking about the Tourism Strategy 2040 of the government, Mahrouqi said that the government is investing heavily in tourism infrastructure in enhancing facilities equally in all the 11 regions of the Sultanate to deliver an “experiential’ visitor experience which is based on responsible and sustainable tourism.  She mentioned that the country has overshot the target of 20,000 hotel rooms by 2020. The country has 21,500 hotel rooms already built and operational.

In her presentation, Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Oman Tourism, said that there has been over 30% growth in Indian arrivals since 2014, from the time Oman Tourism actually started promotions in India. Around 3.2 lakh Indian tourists visited Oman in 2017 which is a good 7% increase over 2016. The Indian arrivals to Oman have registered 15% growth in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, she said. This primary segments, according to her, from India are families, weddings and honeymooners, MICE and adventure travellers. She said that lot of collaborative initiatives with Bollywood and other regional film industry, culinary trails with renowned chefs, etc. have helped in creating awareness about tourism potential of Oman in the India market.  She said that considering India’s diverse tastes, they are looking at “customised campaigns’ going forward.
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