Oman is set to further increase the number of hotel rooms in the capital city of Muscat by up to 21 per cent over the next five years as part of plans to develop its tourism sector.

In its latest Oman market update, UK-based property consultant Cluttons estimates that 5,000 to 6,000 hotel rooms in the three to five-star category will be built in the Muscat area in the years up to 2015. This is a 18-21 per cent increase on the 3,777 rooms that were built in this sector in 2010.

Oman 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Number of hotels 153 172 185 194 219
Number of hotel rooms 7,248 8,504 9,149 9,306 10,550
Source: Ministry of National Economy 

Hotels opened in Muscat in the first half of 2011 include the 268-room City Seasons Hotel Muscat and the 153-room GoldenTulip Inn. According to Oman’s Tourism Ministry, several mid-range and budget hotels will open in the fourth quarter of 2011. This will include the Swiss-Belhotel planned for Muscat’s cultural and sports district.

The new hotel projects form part of Oman’s plans for its tourism sector to play a larger role in its economy. The sultanate is planning to spend OR105m ($272.7m) over the next five years to help it achieve this. The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that tourism and travel will contribute 3 per cent to Oman’s total GDP by the end of 2011.

A key project which is part of the government’s plans to grow its tourism sector is the estimated $1bn Convention Centre development planned for Muscat. Ground on the project was broken in January, and the first construction package expected to be tendered will be for the 25,000-square-metre exhibition hall, car parking and energy centre.

The scheme will also include a 3,000-capacity convention centre, five-star hotel and an infrastructure works package. The infrastructure package will include the construction of site roads and the provision of utilities.