Muscat: Oman has been named the Middle East’s Leading Cultural Destination for the year 2019 at the World Travel Awards, which saw the Sultanate receive 27 awards in the tourism, travel and hospitality sectors.
While Oman Air, the country’s national carrier, was named the Middle East’s leading airline in both the economy and business class categories, its in-flight magazine, Wings of Oman, was also named the Middle East’s Leading Inflight Magazine for 2019. Muscat International Airport was also named the region’s leading airport for 2019.
With the tourism industry in Oman earmarked as one of the areas of high potential and expansion as part of the Tanfeedh programme for economic diversification, these awards provide the country with a bit more impetus to move forward with its plans.
Abdulaziz bin Saud Al Raisi, the CEO of Oman Air, was delighted to see the airline receive these awards, and credited the staff at the company for their hard work and dedication towards making this a reality.
“Winning three categories of the prestigious World Travel Awards is a remarkable achievement for Oman Air, especially when we were pitted against some of the world’s largest airlines,” he said.
“These wins are very important to Oman Air as they indicate that our staff are continually raising the bar in service excellence to provide a safe and wonderfully enjoyable flying experience for our guests.
Al Raisi added: “At the same time, we are proud to be expanding our global reach as we fly to an increasing number of new destinations, and continue to add new aircraft to our fleet. Although the category of ‘Leading Inflight Magazine’ was previously a part of the World Travel Awards, this is the first time the same category was included in the WTA Middle East. And we are delighted to be the first winner in this new category.”
Several hotel chains that operated in the Sultanate as well as the rest of the Middle East also won awards. Millennium Hotels and Resorts was named the Middle East’s Leading Business Hotel Brand, while Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts picked up the award for the Middle East’s Leading Hotel Brand.
Within Oman, several hotels picked up awards for their high standards in tourism and hospitality. With the tourism industry in Oman earmarked as one of the areas of high potential and expansion as part of the Tanfeedh programme for economic diversification, these awards provide the country with a bit more impetus to move forward with its plans.
20 organisations in Oman won national-level awards at the 2019 World Travel Awards, with the Kempinski Hotel Muscat being named Oman’s Leading Beach Resort.
“Upon winning the award, Carsten Wiegandt, general manager of Kempinski Hotel Muscat said, “We are proud and honoured to receive such a great accolade by the prestigious World Travel Awards and be recognised as one of the leading hotels in Oman and the region as we aim to provide a blend of local Omani hospitality with elegant European flair.”
In addition, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara was awarded the title of Oman’s Leading Villa Resort 2019, while Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort was named as the hotel which had the nation’s leading luxury hotel villa for 2019.
In this context, James Hewitson, general manager for Anantara Salalah, said: “I continue to be very optimistic about the sustainability of these growth levels in the region’s current climate. We have seen strong double-digit growth from the traditional source markets during the winter season. In addition, Russia for example has grown 300 per cent following the launch of daily flights from Moscow to Muscat and we have been looking into how we can better attract more volume from India and China, which is still very low in Salalah.
“At this current time I strongly feel we have many good reasons to be optimistic about potential new markets while still growing our existing markets over the next few years,” he explained.
“Being the only luxury property in Salalah has been a very interesting challenge as we have had to drive service and quality to justify our higher rates when comparing with the other hotels in the market. We would certainly welcome some new competitors in the luxury segment as I strongly feel that this will only support the growth of the destination as well as ensure more flight connectivity”
Two facilities of the Millennium brand also won awards at the ceremony: the Grand Millennium Muscat was named Oman’s Leading Business Hotel, and the Millennium Executive Apartments were given the award for Oman’s Leading Hotel Residences. The residences have now received awards in this category for the fifth time since 2015.
“It is a true honour to be recognised year after year at the World Travel Awards,” said Luca Medda, cluster general manager for the Grand Millennium Muscat and Millennium Executive Apartments Muscat.
“Such appreciation would not have been possible without the exceptional dedication of our team here in Oman, who put every effort into ensuring our guests are well looked after and our offering remains competitive. Our focus has always been on the guest experience.”