Oman Tourism Report Q2 2012
- ID: 2103290
- March 2012
- Region: Oman
- 47 Pages
- Business Monitor International
Business Monitor International's Oman Tourism Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, tourism associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Oman's tourism industry.
BMI is generally positive on the outlook for Oman’s tourism sector as we enter 2012. Over recent years, the number of inbound travellers to its Muscat and Salalah airports has continued to rise steadily, up by nearly 24% year-on-year (y-o-y) during 2010 to reach 3,064,050, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism. Cruise ship arrivals are also on the increase, with 94 cruise ships calling into Muscat over the 2010-11 season (up from 78 the previous year) and the number of cruise ship passenger arrivals increasing by 72% to 231,100.
For the 12 months ending June 2011, the number of passengers passing through Muscat International Airport rose by 15% to 2.23mn, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This indicates the robust nature of inbound tourism demand (leisure and business-related) at the present time.
Considering the strong performance seen year-to-date, we believe it is now the right time to make a slight upwards adjustment to our tourist arrivals forecast for 2011. We now believe that an expansion of 7% for calendar year 2011 is possible, up from 6%. This will take total arrivals to the 1.88mn mark, and tourist arrivals to just under 1.6mn.
We base our optimism on the fact that Oman has suffered less than other Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states in terms of public protests against the authorities. Although there have been some protests, notably during Q111, it has largely been localised and we maintain our view that an escalation in demonstrations on the scale as in other MENA countries is highly unlikely. As such, Oman is in a strong position to attract travellers who had been intending to travel to other, less stable countries in the region.
Beyond 2011, we remain confident that tourist arrivals can continue to show steady growth, of around 6% per annum, over the remainder of our forecast period. This means we would expect tourist arrivals to exceed 2mn by 2015. Over the same period, we also expect tourism expenditure to increase by 14%, to US$1.365bn.
Oman’s tourism sector has been one of the oil rich country’s real success stories in recent years. Faced with the prospect of its oil reserves running out faster than many of its Gulf neighbours, the sultanate has needed to broaden its economic base. Oman has been slowly building a reputation as a high-quality Gulf tourist destination during the past few years, and we believe tourism has good growth prospects over the next decade. The country has developed luxury accommodation, but largely eschews the commercialism of rival destinations such as Dubai (and promoting its culture and heritage as an alternative to the new high-rise cities of the Gulf). In addition, the state-controlled airline, Oman Air, has made a concerted effort to expand its operations, in order to attract a greater number of visitors to Oman and to increase the volume of international transfer passengers using Muscat airport.
Factors favouring the development of the Omani tourism industry over the coming decade include the significant investments being made in tourism facilities and supporting infrastructure. Moreover, the economy is solidly based and well positioned to support planned investments in its tourism sector.
New Joint Venture To Boost Omani Tourism
In September 2011 Oman Air won Airline of the Year at France’s Laurier d’Or du Voyage d’Affaires travel awards. The award recognises the quality of the business class service offered by the airline on the Muscat-Paris route.
In the same month Oman Air announced the creation of a new joint venture in partnership with private concern Bahwan Travel Agencies, to be known as Oman Air Holidays. This public/private venture will focus on promoting inbound tourism to Oman and will create the country’s largest travel and tourism business, according to an Oman Air press release.
For inbound tourism, Oman Air Holidays will integrate with Bahwan Tours, while outbound tourism for Omani citizens will be handled by integration with Bahwan Holidays. The new joint venture will also work closely with the tourism ministry to increase Oman’s foothold in the international tourism market. BMI believes that this new company should do much to boost Oman’s tourism offering to the global market.
Additionally, it has been reported that Oman Air CEO, Peter Hill, has agreed to delay his retirement until mid-December 2011, from an original retirement date of September 2011. Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, current CEO of British carrier British Midland International (bmi), has long been identified as a leading contender to head up Oman Air. However Prock-Schauer is currently busy with the proposed sale of British Midland to International Airlines Group, which was announced by current parent company Lufthansa in early November 2011. This could make him unavailable for the Oman Air job over the short term.
Whoever succeeds Hill will arguably have a tough act to follow, with the industry veteran having won many plaudits for the way he has turned around Oman Air’s business in his three years at the helm. At present, the airline is looking to return to profit around 2014, with a new business model focusing on serving traffic bound for Oman, as opposed to trying to compete with rivals Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways on long-haul routes. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
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