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Muscat will bounce back after suffering one of the largest falls in hotel valuations in the Middle East, according to hotel and hospitality analysts, HVS.

A new HVS report said that hotels in Muscat will increase in value by nearly 22 per cent by 2022, largely erasing the loss of value of hotel investments witnessed over the period 2015-18.

With oil price falls and a subsequent loss of confidence in the Omani economy in 2015-18, the value per key – the standard industry metric for valuing hotels – lost 31 per cent in value between 2015 and 2018 to be RO41,300 (US$107,000) in 2018.However, the latest HVS assessment points to a rise in the hotel valuation index of 21.9 per cent over the period 2019-22.

The positive outlook for Muscat is second only to Doha – which also suffered a downturn in values of 35 per cent in 2015-18 – in the 14 regional cities considered by HVS. This encouraging perspective comes as there is increasing discussion in Oman of ways in which the hospitality industry, and tourism more generally, can grow.Mac Thomson, chief executive officer of hotel and asset management group, Midan Muscat International Services, said, “The report from HVS is a reminder for the hotel and hospitality sector that most trends in the industry are cyclical.

“The downturn in the market over the past few years was a result of many factors out of the industry’s control. Now, it is time for the private sector to play its part in promoting Oman more as a very attractive leisure destination and providing the accommodation and experiences that local and international visitors are seeking. Hotel operators need to look at the growing tourism markets such as China and India, and understand what will encourage tourists from there to visit Oman.”

Thomson said that the number of Chinese tourists travelling to the GCC is expected to increase 81 per cent from 1.6mn in 2018 to 2.9mn in 2022. “This represents less than six per cent of the Chinese international tourists and less than four per cent of the Chinese population having passports. So there remains a massive market potential, as long as local operators take efforts to encourage this market to visit Oman.”

Another matter that is being addressed is the lack of mid-range accommodation within Muscat. “Tourists want affordable hotel rooms that have international standards. With nearly half of the current hotel keys being in the four- and five-star category, it is time the hospitality sector moved its focus away from the top-end hotels to affordable accommodation favoured by more budget-conscious visitors.

“Oman offers an extraordinary mix of cultural and natural environment experiences to which we should be adding the health and wellness and adventure tourism experiences that have proved so attractive elsewhere in the world.

“His Majesty the Sultan’s government and the Ministry of Tourism have made an admirable commitment to the sector as part of the 25-year National Tourism Strategy with major investments in airline and airport infrastructure and easing of visa

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