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|Oman Air Hails Success Of World Travel Market 2013|
Nearly 50,000 delegates gathered at London’s ExCel Centre from Monday 4th to Thursday 7th November 2013, where more than 180 countries and regions, with over 5,000 exhibitors, were showcased. Over the course of the full event, it is expected that more than £2 billion in industry deals will have been facilitated at WTM this year.
Oman Air’s dramatic, two-storey stand at WTM provided an ideal location for formal and informal meetings, social gatherings and casual enquiries throughout the course of the four-day event. The national airline of the Sultanate of Oman hosted a multitude of representatives from the travel trade and the media to discuss the airline’s future plans, potential partnerships and Oman’s vision for increased tourism. Oman Air’s delegation, headed up by Chief Commercial Officer Abdulrazaq Al Raisi, were also pleased to offer the carrier’s trademark hospitality at a 20th Anniversary reception on the stand, at which more than 60 guests met staff from Muscat and London.
“World Travel Market 2013 was a great success for Oman Air and we were delighted to welcome unprecedented numbers of visitors to our stand. Our reception provided an excellent focal point for our hospitality and visitor numbers were further boosted by the presence of cartoonists, who offered guests the chance to take home a unique caricature of themselves with an Oman Air aircraft.
“And, whilst the social side of the show exposed Oman Air’s brand to thousands of visitors, we were also able to achieve a great deal in terms of hard business. We forged new partnerships, further strengthened existing relationships and made many new contacts which will benefit both Oman Air and the Sultanate of Oman in months and years to come.”
World Travel Market also provided a forum for a range of debates, seminars and announcements, one of the most significant of which, for Oman Air, was the publication of research findings by both Euromonitor International and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Euromonitor International report, ‘Middle East – Overview’, showed that the Middle East and Africa was the second most dynamic region for the value growth of luxury goods between 2007 and 2012, reaching US$15.2 billion and predicted to grow between 2012 and 2017 by a further 37%. Analysis of the figures showed that luxury brands, as well as high-end experiences that offer comfort and personalised entertainment, are especially favoured by Middle East consumers. Furthermore, this penchant for luxury explains the widespread domination across the Middle East of four- and five-star hotels and resorts in key destinations. The report added that the region’s focus on luxury was also reflected in Middle East airlines’ large-scale investment in their world-class Business Class operations.
Usama Karim Al Haremi added:
“Euromonitor International’s report is a clear reflection of Oman Air’s experience. Over the last four years, we have experienced exceptionally high demand for our premium products and services, which have also been recognised in a wide range of international awards programmes. We have made very significant investments in our Business Class passenger experience, and we look forwarded to adding to this with the arrival, from next year, of the first of the 20 aircraft we currently have on order. Having built our formidable reputation on a combination of luxury, choice and convenience, we look forward to enabling many more air travellers to experience Oman Air’s outstanding hospitality.”
Meanwhile, the UNWTO report, ‘Tourism Highlights 2013’, showed that, for the first time, Oman recorded revenues of more than US$1 billion from international tourism in 2012. At a time when tourism is collapsing in a number of other Middle East markets, Oman’s revenues of US$1.09 billion from tourism are now fourth largest in the GCC. Oman now accounts for 2.3% of all international tourism to the Middle East.
Usama Karim Al Haremi further commented:
“A key part of Oman Air’s mission is to raise international awareness of the unparalleled beauty and hospitality that Oman offers to visitors and to encourage people from around the world to discover the Sultanate for themselves. The latest figures published by the UNWTO are therefore extremely encouraging and show that Oman Air and its partners at the Ministry of Tourism are achieving our aims. The increase of Oman’s airport sector, together with the expansion of Oman Air’s fleet, will enable us over the next few years to welcome many more visitors and we look forward to seeing tourism numbers continue their impressive growth.”
The greater visitor numbers to Oman Air’s stand was mirrored elsewhere at WTM, which saw an overall delegate increase of 5%. The first day (Monday 4th November) of the event recorded invite-only visitor attendance up by 12% on last year, to almost 9,000, with a 7% increase – to 18,292 visitors – recorded on the second day, which is traditionally the busiest, as it is the first day that the show is open to the whole travel industry. A further 5%
increase was recorded on the third day of the event and significant visitor increases were also seen on the last day, which is open to the general public.
Reed Travel Exhibitions, Senior Director, World Travel Market, Simon Press said:
“I am absolutely delighted with the delegate attendance of WTM 2013 across the first three days. These figures demonstrate the power and importance of WTM to the industry and the role it plays in facilitating business for sector.”
Other highlights of WTM 2013 include:
- Oman Ministry of Tourism sponsored the World Responsible Tourism Awards, part of World Responsible Tourism Day on Wednesday 6th November. The overall winner of the awards was TUI Netherlands, which picked up the accolade as a result of its work to address child sex tourism in northern Brazil.
- 200 leaders of the travel industry attended the WTM Captains of Industry Lunch.
- The inaugural Travel Technology Show put the spotlight on social media and mobile trends as well as how online penetration continues apace for some destinations.
- A session on how Facebook is now present at every stage of the travel process, from dreaming and planning to experiencing and reflecting, drew a huge audience.
- UNWTO Secretary General Dr Taleb Rifai said in the first eight months of 2013 aviation grew by 5.1% and will close the year 4% up, ahead of what the UNWTO was predicting earlier this year.
- Mr Rifai added that aviation is tipped to grow by 4% in 2014, despite ongoing concerns over taxes and visas.
- Brazilian superstar footballer Ronaldo was at WTM to promote the Brazil World Cup as part of the ‘Next stop Brazil - 2014 FIFA World Cup update’.
About Oman Air
Oman Air is the flagship carrier of the Sultanate of Oman and an Official 4 Star Airline (Skytrax 2011). Founded in 1993, the airline has since witnessed massive growth and has played a major role in making Muscat an important traffic hub in the Middle East, supporting the commercial, industrial and tourism sectors.
The airline currently operates direct international flights from Muscat to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Tehran and Kuwait, in the Gulf region, as well as Cairo, Beirut and Amman within the wider Middle East region.
In addition, Oman Air flies to ten destinations in India (Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kozhikode and Jaipur), Chittagong in Bangladesh, Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan, Kathmandu in Nepal and Colombo in Sri Lanka. Oman Air also flies to the Maldives, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam. Its European destinations are London, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich.
Oman Air has also codeshare partnerships with Emirates Airlines giving travellers better connectivity and an extended range of services between Dubai and Muscat as well as with Qatar Airways allowing Oman Air’s customers to book flights from any of the 42 departure points within its network to Doha, the capital of Qatar. Earlier this year, Oman Air, entered into a codeshare partnership with Ethiopian Airlines, the national carrier of Ethiopia on the Muscat and Addis Ababa sectors, which will offer greater choice for customers of the two airlines.
Oman Air’s fleet currently consists of four Airbus A330-200s, three Airbus A330-300s, 17 Boeing 737-700s/800s, four Embraer E175s and two ATR 42s. Six Boeing 787 Dreamliners are on order for delivery from 2015, three Airbus A330s are expected from December 2014 and six Boeing 737-800s will be added to the fleet, also from 2014. In addition, Oman Air announced at the Paris Air Show 2013 an order for six Boeing 737-900ERs – the first Gulf carrier to take the aircraft. By 2016, Oman Air’s total fleet size is expected to be around 50 aircraft.
Oman Air’s outstanding aircraft interiors include its First Class Mini Suite, which provides each of the six First Class passengers with direct aisle access and converts to the longest lie-flat seat in the skies. The A330’s 20 award-winning Business Class seats each provide direct aisle access, ample storage space and the latest technological amenities. Economy Class seats offer adjustable head and leg rests, together with generous leg and elbow room.
A state of the art in-flight entertainment system features individual seatback screens, audio and video on demand and live satellite TV. In addition, Oman Air has pioneered both mobile telephony and Internet connectivity on board its flights and this is available in all three classes.
Superb new First and Business Class lounges have been opened at Muscat International Airport, featuring elegant and tranquil relaxation areas, complimentary spa treatments and à la carte dining. A lounge-to-aircraft limousine service is also offered to First Class passengers at Muscat.
Oman Air’s commitment to quality, comfort and a seamless passenger experience has resulted in international acclaim, including: Best Business Class Seat in the World (Skytrax World Airline Awards 2011, 2012); Service Excellence, Middle East (Skytrax World Airline Awards 2011); Best Luxury Airline, Middle East (Business Destinations Awards 2011, 2012, 2013); Technological Innovation of the Year (Aviation Business Awards 2010); as well as recognition in the TravelPlus Amenity Bag Awards 2010 (three Gold, one Silver), 2011 (two Gold, one bronze), 2012 (one Gold); the Cellars in the Sky Awards 2010 (Silver) and 2012 (two Gold), the KLIA Awards 2011, the 2009 Vision Awards (one Silver, one Bronze) and the Travel Industry Club Awards 2010 (Silver), TTG Travel Award 2011 as Commended Airline of the Year, Best In-flight Connectivity & Communications award in The 2011 Passenger Choice Awards in Seattle USA, The Airline of the Year Award at France's Lauriers d'Or du Voyage d'Affaires, Top Resa 2011.