Interview: Asma Al Hajri on the future of tourism in Oman

Interview: Asma Al Hajri on the future of tourism in Oman

As deputy director-general of Oman Tourism Promotion, Al Hajri has big plans to put the country on the luxury travel map

Following the success of the inaugural Global Travel Week in London in September 2021, Jacobs Media Group is set to host a special edition of the show in Oman in partnership with Oman Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. Connecting Travel spoke with the deputy director-general of Oman Tourism Promotion, Asma Al Hajri, to find out what else is in the pipeline for the GCC country on its quest to double its international visitor numbers over the next two decades as part of its national 2040 Tourism Strategy.

Connecting Travel: In 2021, you partnered with Jacobs Media Group’s networking platform, Connections, to promote Oman to the luxury market. What was the outcome?
Asma Al Hajri: Connections provides a very strong platform for countries to connect and partner with luxury travel buyers. Through the Connections event, we were able to host high-end buyers who were visiting Oman for the very first time and introduce them to the country’s travel sellers. These introductions lead to partnerships, and such partnerships help to position Oman as a luxury travel destination.

Oman is a blessed country with a diverse landscape, nature, heritage and history. With all this, Oman delivers a unique luxury travel experience

CT: What are Oman’s tourism objectives?
AH: We’re looking for economic sustainability and a sustainable economy. Environmental integrity and social development is important; we have to make sure that when we develop the tourism infrastructure, we preserve our culture as well.

Misfat al Abriyyin village known for its traditional architecture

CT: What are Oman’s USPs?
AH: Authentic Oman experiences are available everywhere you go in this country. You can experience the real Arabia, the real Oman, just by meeting the locals in villages. It’s very different from the other countries around us, to be in a destination where you can meet the locals, chat with them, and be part of the community. I think it’s important for the luxury traveller to have that authentic Oman experience.

Also, I think you might notice when you enter Oman that it’s very clean. We keep buildings within a certain height. We preserve our culture and our architecture as well. Architecture is very important in our culture and history.

The Royal Opera House is an example of the architecture you can see – it’s a work of art

CT: What’s in the pipeline for tourism in Oman?
AH: As part of our 2040 tourism strategy, we’re looking into developing a series of experiences throughout the country. There are new hotels and resorts in the pipeline, too. And I’m very proud for Oman to host Global Travel Week in March 2022. After the pandemic and the issues of the past two years, the sector has experienced some difficulties in economic growth and bringing this event to the Middle East will help to boost the sector and revitalise it. We’re looking to invite participants to Oman to connect them with our stakeholders, and we’re optimistic that this will help to position Oman as an experiential luxury travel destination.

For more information on Global Travel Week Middle East 2022, visit https://globaltravelweek.com/middle-east-2022 


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