After a thunderous response from India’s leisure market, Oman is keen to attract the MICE market, which already ranks in the top five source market for corporate groups.
Just over a year old now, the Oman Convention Bureau—established and supervised by the Ministry of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman — is preparing to tap the India market aggressively, just as its parent started doing a few years ago through Blue Square Consultants. On his first sales visit to India recently, Khalid Al Zadjali, Director, Oman Convention Bureau, met key tour operators and MICE agents in Mumbai and New Delhi to explore strategic partnerships with them. He says, “The idea is to have strategic partnerships with a couple of travel companies here in India and discuss how we can work together. The next step is to bring Oman suppliers to India with a focus on MICE.”
The government of Oman’s new national strategy for tourism underlines MICE as one of main focus areas. As a result, it decided to form a convention bureau which would undertake this and the Oman Convention Bureau was launched in April 2016. “We submitted a plan to the Government which highlighted the main source markets for MICE in Oman and India is one the markets that we want to focus on for the next three to five years,” Zadjali adds.
Numbers from India
- In the last five years, Oman has witnessed 82 percent growth in Indian arrivals
- In 2016, Oman received 297,628 arrivals from India as compared to 256,210 arrivals in 2014—that is over 16 percent growth in the last two years
- There are roughly 200flights per week operating currently between India and Oman
According to him, India’s incentive market is strong which is good for Oman since it can offer a lot of options for that. The first phase of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) is located opposite the airport opened last year. This includes an exhibition hall spread over 22,000 sq m and 10-12 meeting rooms around it. Phase two will be completed by the second quarter of 2018 and will include a convention hall. There are also other infrastructure and tourism projects within the 9th five-year development plan (2016-2020) that the Oman Tourism Strategy will reinforce.
“The next step is to bring Oman suppliers to India with a focus on MICE”- Khalid Al Zadjali, Director, Oman Convention Bureau.