Amidst growing business and trade ties between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Korea, Oman’s Tourism Ministry sees World Expo 2012 at Yeosu as a unique opportunity to build awareness of Oman among Koreans, at the business and leisure levels.
In 2011, trade between Oman and Korea reached US$6.3 billion, excluding engineering, procurement and contractions contracts to Korean companies. Major companies from the Republic of Korea are also partnering in the development of Oman’s new city on the Sea of Arabia (Duqm) and providing high tech support for Oman’s water and power generation schemes. As trade ties grow, Oman’s Ministry of Tourism believes this is the opportune time for engagement to encompass tourism and thus add a vital new dimension to the cooperation between the two countries.
Her Excellency, the Undersecretary of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism said “Oman’s participation as an Exhibitor at Yeosu is a unique opportunity to showcase Oman to an international audience, and especially to Korean travelers, be it for business or leisure. We think our cultural heritage, landscapes and natural diversity will appeal to Korean’s and make it a stand-out destination in the Gulf” she said.
2012 is also a year of distinctions for Oman and its capital Muscat. Both are recommended by The National Geographic and Lonely Planet as ‘must-see’ destinations in 2012, while Muscat celebrates as Arabia’s Tourism Capital with a year-long calendar of hallmark cultural and sporting events to highlight the unique blend of tradition and modernity that characterizes the city.
The Gulf region is a growing destination for Koreans, with many also passing through the region’s major airports on their way to Europe and Africa. In 2011, GCC States recorded 135,671 passenger arrivals from South Korea, with average annual growth from 2005 to 2011 of 34%. In 2011, there were 166,268 passenger transit movements through GCC airports.
Her Excellency added “tourism between Oman and Korea will grow organically but there’s a lot we can do to accelerate this, starting with a formal Tourism Agreement backed by a coordinated strategy. An essential element of this strategy would be to identify how Korean companies already established in Oman could enter the tourism sector. As these companies include conglomerates with proven tourism expertise, I am sure there is significant untapped potential”. This first aspect would then be complemented by additional consideration to Korean tourism-oriented organizations that include Oman in their product portfolio” she continued.
Oman’s tourism delegation to Yeosu includes leading resorts and hotels. The delegation will be seeking to establish travel and tourism trade partnerships, capitalizing on the visibility and exposure created by the Omani presence at the Expo.