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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/22/2013 -- The Oman Tourism Report examines the significant long-term potential being offered by the local tourism industry, but flags short-term concerns surrounding the fact that Oman is currently served by significantly less direct flights than other Gulf tourist destinations, as well as the fact that the country still needs to invest to improve infrastructure and develop a wider range of tourism facilities.
The report also analyses the growth and risk management strategies being employed by some of the leading players in Oman's tourism sector (airlines and hotel chains), as they seek to maximise the growth opportunities being offered by the local market at the present time.
Provisional tourist arrivals data released by the Ministry of Tourism showed that a total of 1,427,611 tourists visited Oman in 2011, down by 1.8% on the 1,454,083 tourists who arrived in 2010.
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However, arrivals trends for 2012 seem to be much more encouraging. In the absence of any tourist arrivals having been released by the Ministry of Tourism so far this year, BMI has looked at the total number of passengers travelling through Muscat International Airport as a proxy.
The number of passengers passing through Muscat International Airport was up by 20% y-o-y over H112, to reach 3,749,000. Although a significant number of these passengers were in transit, BMI believes that this upward trend does indicate that 2012 should be a strong year for tourist arrivals into the Gulf state. Consequently, BMI retains its forecast of a 10% increase in visitor numbers for the current year.
After 2012, BMI remains optimistic about the outlook for the Omani tourism industry. The country is planning significant increases in the national room supply, to reach more than 20,000 rooms by 2015, while airport capacity is also set to treble at Muscat and Salalah. On the security side, although there have been isolated incidents of unrest across the country during the past six months, BMI's political risk analysts believe these are unlikely to gather steam, and that there are few substantial threats to the country's political risk profile in the near term. In the event of demands for further reforms, BMI would expect the government to carry out wage hikes or promises of more public-sector employment.
Over the last quarter, BMI has revised the following forecasts and views:
- BMI has extended its forecast period out to 2017. BMI now forecasts a 38.7% increase in tourist arrivals, to 1.45mn, and a near doubling of tourism spending, to US$2.96bn, by end-2017.
- BMI believes that cruise ship tourism will play an ever-expanding role in Oman's tourism industry over our newly-extended forecast period to 2017. From arrivals of just 3,500 in 2003, 210 cruise ships brought some 200,000 tourists to Oman's three ports of Sultan Qaboos (Muscat), Khasab (Musandam) and Salalah (Dhofar) during 2011.
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