India a priority market: Oman Convention Bureau
Oman Convention Bureau has the responsibility to develop the MICE industry in Oman and promote the country as a niche MICE destination in major source markets. “One of the priority source markets for us in the next three-five years is India,” said Khalid Al Zadjali, director, Oman Convention Bureau, who was in India recently to promote the destination in the India market.
The launch of the second phase of the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) will give a fillip to MICE tourism. “Many hotels in Muscat have facilities for hosting MICE events. Upcoming properties will add 3000 rooms by end of 2018 including number of international chains like W Hotel, Jumeirah Hotel, JW Marriott, Rotana, Kempinski, Crowne Plaza. All the properties have good MICE facilities,” stated Zadjali, adding that rebranding of Oman Air and expansion of its routes will contribute to the MICE market – there are 150 flights weekly from different destinations in India to Muscat.
Zadjali also expects the unique aspects of the destination – from history and heritage to beaches and natural beauty, to add to the attraction for a MICE traveller from India. “Oman offers an authentic Arabian experience,” he mentioned, pointing out that delegates can explore nearby places like Jabal Akhdar, which is a hill station with properties like Anantara and Alila ; then there are camps in deserts – from luxury to budget.
The second phase of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018, and will include a major convention centre hall, 40 meeting rooms, two ballrooms for events, special occasions and weddings. Attached to that will be two hotels – JW Marriott with 300 rooms which will open at the same time; and a 300 keys four-star Crowne Plaza.
Zadjali is confident that with the coming up of the new infrastructure, Oman Air’s expansion and the government supporting the MICE industry, Oman will take its position as a major MICE destination in the region. In India, Oman Convention Bureau is planning strategic partnership with some MICE houses.
There is also a focus on promoting Oman as a wedding destination.