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January 26, 2016

Middle East: Oman’s New Hub for Business Events Gearing Up for 2016 Opening

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Oman is gearing up for its first significant venture into the MICE market. Opening in September 2016, the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) is located in its own precinct just 10 minutes from the new Muscat International Airport and is set to host international, regional and national conventions, exhibitions and business events.

oman convention and exhibition centerAmongst its features is a tiered auditorium seating 3,200 people and more than 22,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space.

The iconic landmark will act as a gateway to Muscat and is surrounded by nature and overlooks a wadi, which is a haven for Oman's exotic bird life.
In the lead up to the grand opening, the team behind OCEC has recently strengthened the Sultanate's reputation as an emerging global economy at IBTM World in Barcelona.

OCEC's director of business development Gillian Taylor unveiled 'Oman – an Oasis of Opportunity' to more than 30 world media, and met with 80 potential decision makers on the importance of the business events industry to the nation's economy in line with the Sultanate's Vision 2020.

"Oman has a thriving business community with a flourishing culture of entrepreneurship that benefits from strong government support and encouragement," explained Taylor.

"The Sultanate's competitive edge is further strengthened by its burgeoning reputation for academic excellence and leadership in research and innovation, as well as its future-forward approach to knowledge exchange," Taylor said.

The Omani travel and tourism sector is a vital contributor to the economy with visitor numbers increasing by 23.8 per cent over the last few years.

Tourism officials in the Middle Eastern country hope the opening of its convention and exhibition centre will help boost visitor numbers to the sultanate as they look to capaitilse on the wider success of the region as a MICE hub.

Salim Al Maamari, the director general of tourism promotion for the Ministry of Tourism, described the opening of OCEC as a "very important investment for Oman".

He added: "We have believed for a long-time that the new centre can develop tourism and, through conventions, we can diversify our economy and help it grow."

In its seven year forecast, the OCEC expects to host almost 450 events by 2022 and welcome thousands of visitors each year.


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