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Oman has witnessed rapid development in the hospitality sector over the last few years with the number of hotel properties increasing considerably.

The sultanate had a total of 412 hotel establishments and 22,182 hotel rooms until the end of 2018, with many more in the pipeline. According to the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Muscat has the largest share of hotels at 155 facilities and 12,106 rooms, followed by Dhofar with 34 hotels and 3,576 hotel rooms.

Next up is South Sharqiyah with 52 hotels and 1,077 hotel rooms, Dakhliyah 41 hotels and 1,254 rooms, North Batinah 30 hotels, 1,138 rooms, Buraimi 28 hotels, 977 rooms, North Sharqiyah 27 hotels, 484 rooms, South Batinah 16 hotels, 427 rooms, Al Wusta 13 hotels, 592 rooms, Musandam nine hotels, 471 rooms and Dhahirah seven hotels and 80 hotel rooms.

From 10,924 hotel rooms in 2017 to an expected 16,866 rooms in 2021, Muscat is to witness the largest number of new hotel chains opening in the capital, and is expected to drive a 12 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the next three years, according to data released by Colliers International.

According to Oxford Business Group report, other internationally branded hotels with completion dates in the coming years include three brands of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in the capital: the 175-room Aloft Muscat, a 250-key W and a 100-room three-star extended-stay apartments under the Element name. In 2020 Accor’s new 200-room Novotel Muscat Azaiba is scheduled to open, while IHG’s Intercontinental Muscat Hills Golf Resort and Spa began works in 2017. Work on the 206-room, five-star Saraya Bandar Jissah Resort was under way as of October 2018, as was the 320-room JW Marriott Muscat Convention Centre hotel. Wyndham Hotel Group’s Ramada Encore and Ramada Hotel & Suites brands are also both constructing hotels in Muscat’s Ghubra suburb, the former a three-star, 200-room venue and the latter offering 90 four-star suites.

Tourism arrivals to Oman will increase at a CAGR of 13 per cent between 2018 and 2021, according Colliers. The increase in arrivals will be fuelled by visitors from across the GCC, who accounted for 48 per cent of guests in 2017. Furthermore, supported by new visa processes and improved flight connections, arrivals from India (ten per cent), Germany (six per cent), the UK (five per cent) and Philippines (three per cent) are also expected to contribute heavily to the country’s tourism growth.

However, Oman’s largest source market has been the Middle East with arrivals increasing at an annual rate of 20 per cent recorded between 2012 and 2017.

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