Oman’s Ministry of Tourism expects the Sultanate’s growing number of world-class meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) facilities to come under the spotlight as it takes part in the upcoming Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings (GIBTM) exhibition from March 26 - 28 2012 at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi.
In particular focus at GIBTM will be the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre project, valued at USD 1.8 billion. When completed in 2015, the 2 million sq-metre facility will include a 3,200 seat auditorium, 4 hotels with a total of 1000 rooms, a 192,000-sq-metre shopping mall and 200 serviced apartments, 85,000 sq metres of grade-A office space and 25,000 sq metres of exhibition space, among other amenities. The centre, Grand Hyatt Muscat and Chedi Muscat Hotel will be exhibiting alongside Oman Ministry of Tourism at GIBTM.
The Ministry expects the MICE segment to perfectly complement Oman’s growing appeal as a tourism destination for visitors from around the world. In 2011 Oman attracted 1.6 million tourists, while this year the country is targeting to attract around two million foreign tourists. The GCC market was a major contributor to Oman tourism last year, with overall growth of 26 per cent, and the number of visitors from UAE growing 30 per cent. Revenue from tourism last year accounted for 2.6 per cent of Oman's gross domestic product (GDP). Meanwhile, Oman’s capital Muscat was recently selected as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2012 by the Arab Tourism Ministers Council. It was also named the second best city on Earth to visit by the influential travel guide publisher Lonely Planet.
“We are keen to capitalise on the potential benefits of a thriving MICE segment to further foster the growth of Oman’s tourism industry. A number of strategic measures are currently being undertaken to build Oman’s MICE sector offerings, including the construction of world-class exhibition and conference venues. The added value that Oman offers the MICE segment when compared to other destinations is our unique culture and heritage. GIBTM 2012 provides the right platform for us to identify key trends, explore best practices and interact with leading industry players to showcase Oman’s various business travel attractions, and we are confident of a highly fruitful participation this year as well.” said Haitham Mohammed Ghasani, Director of Tourism Promotion, Oman Ministry of Tourism.
Representatives of the Oman Ministry of Tourism will be participating in the various sessions of the GIBTM exhibition, while Ministry officials will be attending a number of pre-arranged meetings with various MICE travel suppliers and other key industry players.
GIBTM 2012 will see the participation of over 2000 professionals from the conference, events and meetings industry in the Middle East across a range of industries. It will be attended by a combination of regional and international industry buyers and suppliers, for three days of business opportunities, networking and professional education. GIBTM 2012 is the driving force behind the development of the professional MICE industry across the region.