Muscat – The sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT), will mark World Tourism Day on Tuesday by organising several events and activities aimed at enhancing the status of Oman as a distinct tourist destination.

This year, World Tourism Day will be observed under the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism’ chosen by the United Nations World Tourism Organization taking into account the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant global economic difficulties.

With its focus on stimulating tourism activities in the sultanate, MHT seeks to achieve the targets within Oman Vision 2040, which aim to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP from 2.4 per cent in 2021, to five per cent by 2030, and ten per cent by 2040.

H E Azzan bin Qassim al Busaidi, Undersecretary for Tourism in the ministry, said, “Official statistics show a growth of 39.3 per cent in the number of Omani nationals working in the hospitality sector – from 3,752 in 2020 to 5,230 last year.”

He added that the tourism sector in Oman has shown resilience and the ability to recover quickly from setbacks. “This is seen in the increase in number of visitors, hotel revenues and occupancy rates. The sector also has the ability to provide more jobs and investment opportunities. We have ambitious plans to increase these opportunities.”

H E Busaidi informed that the ministry recently organised promotional tours in India, Germany and the United Kingdom. “We saw great interest in these countries in the tourism potential of the sultanate, which is a multi-season destination famous for its natural beauty, cultural heritage and hospitality.”

About the sultanate’s celebration of World Tourism Day, he said, “The ministry, in cooperation with a number of partners, will organise the Oman Tourism Meet on September 27 and 28. The meet aims to introduce the best practices in adventure tourism, the initiatives undertaken by Oman in this field, and introduce the most important tourist attractions and places.”

MHT will also conduct events to introduce Oman’s programme to support the efforts of Qatar to make the FIFA World Cup 2022 a success, and to promote Muscat as a major city approved to receive football fans from November 20 to December 18.

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