National Day spirit a big boost for Oman economy

Both nationals and residents are in an upbeat mood to celebrate the 45th National Day, as the presence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in the country this time is the cause of the biggest joy for them.

Streets and buildings in Oman have been decked up with national flags and decorative lights to mark the occasion. While, retail giants have started promotional sales, hotels and airlines have also come up with special offers to join hands in the National Day festivities.

People from different walks of life who have geared up for the National Day celebrations, said that despite the oil price fall, the mood is positive due to the presence of the visionary leader His Majesty the Sultan.

“This is a special National Day for us. It was for the first time in the last 44 years, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said was not present physically in the country. This time he is with us and in good health. We are excited to see him in good health. That itself makes the 45th National Day a special one for everyone in Oman,” Mohammed Salim Al Busaidi, a Majlis Al Shura member, told the Times of Oman (TOO).

“National Day celebrations are a time to remember and recognise what we have achieved during the past 45 years. We have to think about how we can contribute more for the progress of our country, while we face challenges on the economic front,” Al Busaidi added.

A top financial expert in Muscat said that despite the oil price dip, the market is confident as His Majesty is back in good health.

“His Majesty’s presence itself instils confidence in everyone. His Majesty’s governance has helped Oman weather all turbulences in the past, especially the one in 2008. Now, when globally, the economy is presenting a gloomy picture, we are sure His Majesty will be able to keep the country safe from troubles. That itself makes the National Day unique and the economy in an upbeat mood,” N Gurumurthy, a Muscat-based financial expert and an official at the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), said

Meanwhile, merchants in Muttrah Souq, Oman’s traditional Arab market in the Muttrah Corniche in Muscat, said sales were at their peak.

“This National Day is a special one for us. We have our His Majesty back in good health. Both nationals and expatriates are in an elated mood to celebrate the 45th National Day.

Shops are stocked with National Day mementos. Sales are its peak,” Hussain Juma Al Balushi, representative of the merchants in Muttrah Souq, told TOO.

Ashraf PP, who exclusively sells National Day mementos, such as flags and pin on buttons at his shop in Muttrah Souq, also echoed the same opinion.

“Wholesale shops are having a good time. Items were brought in from China and Dubai weeks ago itself. Some of the wholesale stores are having sales ranging between OMR40,000 and OMR50,000 daily,” Ashraf stated.

Meanwhile, officials from retail giant Lulu said they are expecting a good sale during the coming days even as market is gloomy due to the slump in oil prices.

“We already have many offers in place. From Sunday onwards, we will start National Day promotions. Last year, we experienced an increase of sales ranging between 20 and 25 per cent during the National Day celebrations. This time also we expect the same,” Raison Francis, assistant manager in the Marketing and Promotions Department at Lulu, said.

A Muscat-based financial analyst also said the retail market is sensing the pulse.

“The market has become active over the past two weeks with everyone trying to get the best automotive and office decorations. Many hotels and shopping malls are organizing special programmes and awarding many gifts and offers to the visitors,” Jose Chacko, chief executive officer (CEO) and general manager at Al Osool Al Arabia, said.

Resorts and hotels in Oman have also come up with offers to celebrate the National Day.

The Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa had already announced 45 days of dedicated offers running till December 24.

Meanwhile, Park Inn Duqm is offering residents and guests an experience in hospitality on the 45th Oman National Day, which is valid until November 30.

Sensing the national mood in Oman on the eve of the country’s 45th National Day, airlines have also announced offers.

While, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has joined the revelry by announcing a very special base fare of just OMR45 for a round trip ticket to Pakistan, Qatar Airways has also announced fares starting from as low as OMR103 to a host of exciting destinations across the globe.

Students at different colleges, including at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), also said they are planning to celebrate the 45th National Day.

“This year it is special as His Majesty is with us. We will be holding celebrations on November 18 at SQU. We will make it a remarkable day for everyone,” Ahmed Al Shibli, a law student at SQU, said.

As part of the celebrations, fireworks displays will be held in Amerat, Bausher and Seeb in the Muscat governorate on November 18.

According to a Royal Oman Police official, three major displays will take place in Muscat.

“The locations are Al Amerat Heights, the Bausher Sports Complex and Wadi Al Khoudh in Seeb. It will be held on at around 8:00 pm,” he added.