The tourism sector provides suitable job opportunities and there are efforts to increase Omanisation rate by boosting job-linked training and increasing awareness among youth and encouraging them to join the tourism sector. This was stated by Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, when he was hosted by the Majlis Ash’shura on Wednesday. He also said that the hotel projects which are under construction in 2019 and 2020 will add some 6,552 rooms and hotel apartments, and this will provide approximately 4,586 job opportunities and not less than 26,000 direct jobs in the tourism sector.
Giving his statement before the Majlis, the minister said the total investments expected in tourism sector by 2040 stands at RO 19 billion, of which 55 per cent are investments in accommodations and resorts, 41 per cent will be dedicated to tourism infrastructure, 3 per cent for tourist experiences system, while one per cent are administrative investments. The biggest part in the implementation of the Tourism Strategy will be undertaken by the private sector with 88 per cent share, while the remaining 12 per cent will be taken up by the public sector, the minister added.
The tourism sector’s performance indicators in 2018 showed a significant growth compared with 2017, with the number of hotels at 412 in 2018 compared with 367 in 2017. Direct added value from tourism rose to RO 912 million compared with RO 728 million, while the sector’s contribution to the Sultanate’s GDP reached 2.9 per cent in 2018 compared with 2.6 the previous year, the minister said in his statement. Dr Abdullah al Amri, representative of the Wilayat of Sadah, said investors are complaining about slow customs clearance, adding that there should be a tourist attaché at the Sultanate’s embassies in the top tourist-generating countries. He also proposed Omanisation of tourist guides jobs in Dhofar Governorate, asking the Ministry of Tourism to take up the additional responsibilities such as financial and logistic support for tourist projects.
Regarding the fate of the Blue City in Al Sawadi area in the Wilayat of Barka, the minister said that ASAAS is currently working on the project under the name Hai Al Sharq (east neighbourhood), and the work on recreational parks has begun, and it involves construction of a zoo, water park and two hotels. The project is expected to be completed by the middle of 2021. Answering a question about Tanfeedh tourism labs, the minister said that the implementation rate has reached 70 per cent, confirming that the Tourism Development Fund has been set up and will be announced soon, adding that the ministry seeks to make the Oman convention office administratively and financially autonomous.