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Club Med resort tipped to help Oman hit tourism targets

The Salalah festival in Oman: the sultanate’s tourism sector is likely to contribute more than $8.6bn to GDP this year Omaninfo
The Salalah festival in Oman: the sultanate’s tourism sector is likely to contribute more than $8.6bn to GDP this year
  • 5.3m visitors expected in 2024
  • Sector to contribute $8.6bn to GDP
  • Musandam resort to open in 2028

Tourist arrivals in Oman are forecast to nearly double over the next four years, boosted by developments such as the region’s first Club Med resort.

Analysts at BMI expect visitor numbers to rise by a quarter to 5.3 million this year – and reach nearly 11 million by 2028.

The sultanate’s tourism sector is likely to contribute more than $8.6 billion to the national GDP this year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. This is nearly 8 percent of the economy.

The sector is also projected to employ more than 206,000 people, with one in 14 of Oman’s workforce having a job in tourism.

Domestic visitor spending is predicted to continue growing, to reach nearly $4 billion. This is 8 percent up on the pre-pandemic figure, although international visitor spending is forecast to lag 2019 levels by about $370 million.

The tourism sector’s contribution to Oman’s economy rose by 35 percent last year. International visitors provided nearly $3 billion of the $7.3 billion total, a jump of 69 percent from 2022.

Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, described Oman's tourism sector as “on the cusp of an historic revival in 2024”. 

This month French travel operator Club Med announced it had picked Musandam in northern Oman as the destination for its first Middle East project.

The all-inclusive resort, a partnership between Club Med, Royal Court Affairs and Oman Tourism Development Company, will have 300 guest rooms and is due to open in 2028.

In February Oman unveiled the $2.4 billion Omani Mountain Destination which will become the country's highest altitude development, at 2,400 metres. It will include 2,527 homes and 2,000 hotel rooms as well as a “wellness village” called The Vessel. 

The project is part of the Oman Vision 2040, which envisages $51 billion in tourism investment by 2040. 

GCC markets accounted for 1.6 million of the arrivals in Oman in 2023, followed by India (610,000), Germany (150,000) and China (118,000), according to Oman’s National Centre for Statistics.

BMI said increased arrivals this year would come mainly from across the GCC, as well as Asia-Pacific and Europe. 

Oman aims to double the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP to 5 percent by 2030 and to 10 percent a decade later.

“Oman is well-positioned to attract travellers from beyond the GCC, who are seeking luxury holiday options. Oman will need to strengthen its tourism promotion strategies, while differentiating its offerings from its regional peers,” BMI said. 

Simpson said: “Oman’s status as a top tourist destination in the Middle East is clearer than ever, thanks to strategic government investment and support.”

The International Monetary Fund predicted this week that Oman’s non-oil economy, including tourism, would increase by 2.6 percent in 2024 and 3.2 percent in 2025. It recorded an increase of 2.1 percent in 2023.

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