National Day holidays expected to boost business in Oman

Businessmen see a boom in activity and revenue in the coming week after the government announced on Wednesday that November 23 and 24 would be holidays for the 46th National Day celebrations.
The government’s decision was announced in a communique issued yesterday by Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud Al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court, Chairman of the Civil Service Council and Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower.

The decision said, “As per the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and on the occasion of the 46th Glorious National Day, it was decided that Wednesday and Thursday, November 23 and 24, 2016, will be official holidays for the employees of the ministries, public authorities, and other departments of the state administrative apparatus. Work will be resumed on Sunday, November 27, 2016.”

In a statement, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, minister of manpower, said private sector companies and establishments would also observe the two-day as holidays.

The decision allows employers and employees to agree on work arrangements if the necessity arises. As the two-day holiday coincides with the weekend, people can enjoy a four-day-long holiday. Welcoming the holidays, Ahmed Al Hooti, a member of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was good that the holiday announcement had been made one week in advance as it would help the people to plan their holidays.

“This will also give a boost to Oman tourism as the residents and citizens would like to explore Oman,” he said.

Mall officials said that purchasing power of the people goes up whenever there are continuous holidays.

“We are expecting footfalls to rise by 80 per cent during the national day holidays,” said Aruna Tavarkhed, deputy mall manager, Panorama Mall. Food and beverages, and apparel sections would see a boost in footfalls, she added.

“At Panorama Mall, in collaboration with Muscat Bikes & Oman Riders, we have planned the National Day celebration with a display of the best motorcycles in Muscat. The public can rate the 12 customised motorcycles displayed on the lower ground floor, and prizes will be given. Along with this, a blood donation camp and traditional dances are also being organised,” she said.

A senior official of Masirah Island Resort and the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve said that enquiries had started pouring in following the holiday announcement.

“I am fully confident that both of our hotels will be completely sold out during the holidays,” he said. A travel agent in Muscat said that they were also getting enquiries soon after the announcement.

“We have got enquires to Southeast Asia destinations,” Santhosh Kanakandath, managing director at Assaraya Travel and Tourism, said. However, he said that they were struggling to arrange bookings for customers looking for destinations in Oman. “As it is the tourism season, all the hotels are full with inbound tourists. It is quite hard to meet the demand of last minute enquires that came in today,” he added.