Oman’s 2040 Tourism Strategy: RO20bn investments, more than 500,000 jobs

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) on Tuesday unveiled its 2040 strategy which will see investments of around RO20bn and creation of more than half a million jobs.

H E Maitha bint Saif al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary in MoT unveiled a strategy for potential private sector investors at a forum held at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Council of Ministers had approved the tourism strategy on Sunday.

The ministry is looking to invest around RO20bn for its strategy through 2040. A great majority of that investment (86-89 per cent) will be through the private sector.

The ministry wants to provide around 80,000 rooms for accommodation: 33,373 hotel rooms, 29,287 vacation home rooms and 17,262 integrated tourism complex (ITC) rooms.

Muscat’s share of accommodation is expected to decrease from 53 per cent now to 30.8 per cent in 2040 as more hotel rooms come up in other parts of the country. Dhofar’s share will rise from 12.6 per cent to 23.8 per cent.

The ministry expects at least 11.7mn international and domestic tourists in 2040, a big jump from 1.4mn in 2013. MoT has identified five types of natural sites for tourism: Wildlife, mountains, wadis, deserts and coasts. It has also identified five elements of culture and heritage: Cities and villages, world heritage sites, cultural heritage, symbols, and norms and traditions. Fourteen clusters of tourist infrastructure will be built around the country as per regional attributes.

These include coastal areas, bronze and iron age ruins, castles, mountains, villages and wadis, bedouin region and Rub al Khali.

The ministry expects tourism to create 535,574 direct and indirect jobs by 2040 compared to 89,413 now. The strategy will be implemented in three stages: Preparation (2016-20), Growth (2021-30) and Stability (2031-40). More than 30 public entities and 50 private entities will be involved in implementing the strategy. These include the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Supreme Council for Planning, ROP and Oman Air.

MoT itself will be reformatted to align with the strategy, and new departments will be created to follow-up implementation. Staff will also receive new training and education. The ministry will evaluate implementation using a scorecard.

H E Maitha said that more than 700 people contributed to forming the strategy, which included a series of workshops. The ministry took 12 weeks to prepare the draft of the strategy.