Tourism arrivals to Oman will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% between 2018 and 2023 to 3.5 million, according to data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2019 (ATM).
Commissioned by ATM, the Colliers International data predicts the rise will be fuelled by visitors from India, who accounted for 21% of total international arrivals during 2018. In addition, arrivals from the UK (9%), Germany (7%), Philippines (6%) and the UAE (6%) are also expected to contribute to the growth, supported by the expansion of Muscat International airport, new and improved flight connections and new electronic and short stay visa processes.
While India is expected to remain Oman’s top source market over the next five years – accounting for 389,890 of tourism arrivals by 2023 - the Philippines is projected to witness the highest CAGR, at 11% compared with 3% for India. The UK, Oman’s second largest source market, is forecast to closely follow with a CAGR of 9%, while Germany and the UAE will experience comparative growths of 7% and 2% respectively.
To match this increase in arrivals, the Colliers research reveals a strong pipeline of new supply expected to enter the Muscat market – with approximately 4,600 additional keys forecasted by 2022. Supply in Muscat is dominated by the upper-midscale segment of the market, with four-star properties currently accounting for 32%, five-star properties accounting for 24% and three-star properties accounting for just 14%.
During 2019 alone, 20 new hotels are expected to open in Muscat including three new five-star hotels and three four-star hotels as well as five three-star hotels, six two-hotels and three one-star hotels. Arabian Travel Market exhibition director ME Danielle Curtis said in a statement: "At present, around 57% of the hospitality demand in Muscat is generated by corporate demand, while leisure travellers account for 32% of total demand. By the end of 2019, average occupancy is predicted to increase 5% to around 59.7%."
Complementing its hotel pipeline, Muscat has made significant investment in its airports. The new terminal at Muscat International Airport, which opened in March 2018, is expected to increase annual passenger traffic by at least 10% year-on-year – driven by growth from domestic carriers Oman Air and Salam Air as they continue to add new and direct routes.
Reflective of this projected growth, during ATM 2018, the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with Oman increased 67% compared to the 2017 edition of the show.
ATM 2019 will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019.