The Business Year

Shabib Al’Maamari

OMAN - Tourism

Shabib Al’Maamari

Managing Director, Visit Oman

Bio

Prior to joining Visit Oman, Shabib Al’Maamari was group chief — sector development and promotion at Oman Aviation Group and a board member of Transom. Earlier, he was the communications and external affairs manager at BP Oman and a member of the leadership team in charge of operations. Before joining BP Oman, Al’Maamari held the role of executive director at Injaz Oman as well as researcher (finance department) at the Diwan Royal Court of Oman, bringing his experience from the Ministry of Manpower, where he held the role of economical researcher. Al’Maamari holds a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Missouri in the US.

Visit Oman works to connect the world to Oman's beauty, while bringing the local travel and tourism sector to new heights.

What key steps has the company taken to launch VisitOman.om?

Following the initial VisitOman.om brand launch at Oman ministry level in June 2021, Visit Oman is now entering its commercial launch phase to facilitate the platform’s evolution into a dynamic, all-encompassing resource that will seamlessly connect the entire accredited Omani tourism supply chain to the travel trade sector in key international source markets. Once launched, VisitOman.om will include a powerful live booking engine that allows for easy supply and demand integration with trade partners. The brand VisitOman.om initiative falls within the broader, existing Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MoHT) National Tourism Strategy 2040. It also aligns with Oman Investment Authority’s overarching investment strategy, while supporting the Sultanate’s continued drive toward economic diversification, as well as the strategic directives being carried out as part of Oman Vision 2040. We work closely with all our key stakeholders—the Oman Investment Authority, OMRAN, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, Oman Vision 2040, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion, Oman’s Chamber of Commerce, and the SME Development Authority.

In the advent of the digital revolution, Visit Oman will serve to digitalize the tourism supply chain in Oman. What challenges has the company faced?

Visit Oman carries out direct B2B booking with the platform’s travel trade partners. This travel distribution function involves selling and promotional engagement with tour operators, travel wholesalers, travel agents and travel consultants. Visit Oman is then on hand to provide a seamless digital connection to Oman’s entire tourism supply ecosystem. In terms of challenges, a major focus of Visit Oman has been to create market awareness of our services and to highlight the many benefits the platform is poised to deliver. This is an ongoing process, which Visit Oman’s commercial, operations, digital, and quality assurance departments are collectively contributing to.

To what extent are PPPs important to enhancing the growth of the tourism sector in the Sultanate?

Visit Oman’s stated mission is to build strong, strategic, and commercial partnerships in all key source markets, and with Omani suppliers, to deliver one connected booking platform that is designed to enable the unlimited Omani traveler experience. With this in mind, the PPP model is a fundamental driver for our operations. In terms of enhancing tourism growth in Oman, Visit Oman has four overarching objectives: to communicate Oman’s tourism supply globally; increase inbound tourism; introduce a quality accreditation process for the Omani travel trade suppliers featured on the site; and maximize economic, social, and sustainable development in the region.

This platform boosts the contribution of local and international partners. How will this influence foreign investment and business opportunities in the Sultanate?

Visit Oman provides a win-win proposition for its travel trade partners. Suppliers like hotels, tour operators, events companies, cultural institutions, and dining establishments can leverage Visit Oman’s services and support to deliver their customers greater ease of trip planning, a more seamless travel experience, and greater quality-assurance guarantees. Along with the above, Visit Oman is serving to create a healthy competitive market between established, best-in-class suppliers, while at the same time supporting emerging suppliers. In addition, Visit Oman is contributing to greater business and human capability development in the Sultanate’s travel and tourism sector, while further stimulating productivity in Oman’s economy.

What are your goals and expectations for 4Q2021, and into the next year?

Looking ahead, Visit Oman is working to realize a key set of targets by 2025, which form part of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism’s (MoHT) National Tourism Strategy 2040—including 100,000-plus new visitors per year, seven-plus tourism clusters activated within the Sultanate, 5,000-plus direct and indirect jobs opportunities, and over OMR100 million in GDP contribution. Visit Oman will look to play a prominent role in developing Oman’s travel industry in accordance with government’s economic diversification agenda to ultimately fulfill the aims of Oman Vision 2040.

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