Muscat: The Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre has marked its most successful year since soft-opening operations began in 2016. With more than 230 events throughout 2019, the world-class venue has achieved an increase in bookings of 36% from 2018. The notable lineup of events utilized 105,000 sqm of exhibition space and received over 800,000 visitors, including more than 100 different nationalities. As the Sultanate continues to boost in-bound tourism, OCEC is aligned with the vision 2040 strategy and is tactically establishing Oman as a burgeoning business tourism destination.
“Our 2019 operations were a noteworthy achievement for the team and have established the groundwork for our business development going forward,” said Eng. Said Salim Al Shanfari, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre. “As the Vision 2040 strategy rolls-out, and as more and more businesses realise the financial benefits and value-add of business events, OCEC is positioned to become a dedicated contributor to the economic growth and development of Oman.”
In alignment with the government’s agenda of economic diversification and sustainability, OCEC is promoting the Sultanate internationally and facilitating both domestic and international tourism. On top of the events hosted in 2019, OCEC have secured 13 live events and 27 international conferences to date – a significant achievement in just three years and an attestation to the venue’s capacity for different event styles. The venue has become increasingly attractive to international events organisers as OMRAN, the Sultanate’s executive arm for tourism development, continues to evolve the Madinat Al Irfan project and establish Oman as a hub for global business tourism, bringing employment and economic opportunities to the country.
As the venue celebrates a successful year, it also marks the completion of the Madinat Al Irfan Theatre and its now fully-operational status. Opening a world of new opportunities for the Sultanate, the 3,200 seat lyric-style theatre is the first of its kind in Oman. In its three months of operation since opening, the theatre has attracted significant interest for events, securing more than ten live shows and several graduations already. With its iconic rose-shaped roof, the completion of the theatre marks a serious step for the Sultanate into the billion-dollar global events industry, and provides Oman with a world-class venue for events of all sizes.
While the completed theatre is ideal for large graduations and performances, OCEC is also home to garden spaces and meeting rooms that cater to smaller groups and to both business and personal style events, such as professional team building activities, or dinners. With the capacity to offer a complete experience to guests and organisers, OCEC’s surrounding gardens, technological capabilities and location by the airport have widened the venue’s growing portfolio, and with it, the landscape of events in Oman.
As demand for events, meetings and incentive travel rises rapidly, the global events industry is forecasted to inject millions of dollars into the global economy in the coming years – a welcome note for the recently awarded World’s Leading New Convention & Exhibition Centre.