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Last night over 80 travel industry and media professionals were immersed in Arabian hospitality at  the Oman Tourism function which was held at 'Souk in the City' in Sydney.  Sultanate of Oman Tourism held the function to thank the industry for it's continued support and to announce the Australian launch of its global marketing campaign.

Special guest for the evening was Mr Mohammed Ali Bin Said, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Tourism and one of Oman’s most influential tourism figures.   Mr Ali Bin Said spoke to the audience about the importance of tourism development in Oman and the Ministry of Tourism's commitment to the Australian and New Zealand market.

"Oman is in the midst of its 40th Anniversary Celebrations of the Sultan's rule and the Renaissance of the Sultanate of Oman, and this event is forms part of our celebrations. We have seen remarkable changes in our country during this time, and tourism is one of many great stories." said Mr Ali Bin Said.

The tourism strategy for Oman has three major elements, infrastructure development, airlift and marketing.

Oman is currently undergoing phenomenal growth and development.  Between 2010 and 2015 the 4 and 5 star room capacity will increase from around 10,000 to 25,000 rooms. The  focus is niche hotels and resorts in regional locations operated by the best brands.  Already Oman's many resorts such as  Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, and Six Senses Zighy Bay Hideaway have won many international awards for service and environmental excellence and with names such as Ritz Carlton, Banyan Tree, Club Med and Fairmont there will surely be more to look forward to.

Marketing is an essential element of Oman's  tourism strategy.  In 2009, Oman launched a new National Brand Mark that uses Arabic calligraphy to showcase Oman’s heritage, culture and nature. The Ministry of Tourism has taken the lead in implementing the brand across all of its communications and media channels using the strap line: beauty has an address. This  next phase is  a global brand marketing campaign that will see Oman have a clear focus and consistent message throughout the world.

"We are positioning Oman in the global tourism market as a destination of rich heritage, culture and nature based tourism, and one that offers a quality and authentic  Arabian experience.   We are not a destination for mass travel. Instead Oman is for responsible tourists interested in the environment, culture and heritage. These are the people who will spend more, stay longer, and promote Oman to their friends and return to the country." continued Mr Ali Ban Said.

Mr Ali Bin Said acknowledged the appointment of The Walshe Group in 2009 as being an important part of their growth strategy for tourism from Australia to Oman. "Our Australian arrivals have been growing at around 13% per year and our recent appointment of The Walshe Group  is intended to build on this."  He  also acknowledged the importance of airline partners from this market and welcomed the new codeshare between V Australia and Etihad Airways.

Mona Tannous, Country Manager for Oman Tourism in Australia and New Zealand introduced the guests to the new global destination campaign." This campaign will be rolled out in Australia and New Zealand with the new look and feel to be reflected  on our website from next week.  Up until this point we have been quite focused on building our brand and increasing awareness of Oman as an emerging tourist destination. In 2011 the emphasis will be on tactical marketing working closely with our wholesale and retail partners,  not only to  increase awareness but to motivate people to travel by putting appropriate packages in the market place.  We are excited to announce that this will include a new dedicated page on our website where wholesalers can advertise their latest deals and packages."

We are also pleased to announce that Australia will also be included in the new global campaign with BBC worldwide.  "We think the look and feel of our new brand advertisements is distinctive and very Omani. As you will see, our current campaign brings together hallmark arts, cultural and sporting events such as the 'Tour of Oman' and Muscat Festival, contrasted with traditional or nature based experiences.'  continued Ms Tannous.

Mr Mohammed Ali bin Said 

Consul General of Oman Hamad al Hajri

His Excellency the Consul-General, Mr Hamed Al Hajri, Consulate

General of the Sultanate of Oman, Mona Tannous, Country Manager of

Oman Tourism, Mohammed Ali Bin Said, Senior Advisor to the

 Minister of Tourism, Jacqui Walshe, CEO of The Walshe Group

Neil Rodgers, Adventure World, Damien Cerini, Creative Holidays,

 Debra Cowan, Creative Holidays, John Polyviou, Sun Island Tour

Natasha Dragun from Vacations Magazine


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