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Oman will be the Official Partner Country of the 2020 edition of Germany-based global travel show ITB Berlin.

On March 20, Muscat International Airport announced that its new passenger terminal had officially opened.

Frasers Hospitality announced it has increased its Middle East portfolio with Saudi Arabia and Oman welcoming new properties this year.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has reinforced its commitment to Oman by announcing a dedicated roadshow across Muscat on March 13. The roadshow’s aim is to cement the UAE capital’s relationship with key businesses and operating bodies by promoting its dynamic set of offerings.

Continuing its expansion across the GCC region, Swiss-Belhotel International (SBI) has entered into a management agreement with Al Salaam International Hotel LLC to operate Swiss-Belinn Muscat, Oman.

Oman Air is to launch three new routes this year to Istanbul, Turkey this June, Casablanca, Morocco (July), and Moscow, Russia (October).

Oman’s SalamAir is introducing its first Iran service with two weekly flights to Shiraz.

Louis Arnaud has been appointed Oman country manager for Amadeus Gulf.

A sanctuary for one of the Gulf’s most fabled creatures, the Arabian oryx, has been opened to visitors in Oman.


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful has the first half of this year (H1) been in terms of tourists' arrivals and which were your main feeder markets?

OMAR SOUAB: Since soft opening in 2016, Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort has increasingly become the preferred luxury accommodation choice in Fujairah. Albeit having opened with limited inventory and facilities, the resort marked a historic achievement having opened a month ahead of its original opening date. The hotel's achievements month-on-month have been strong on room revenue, occupancy as well as ADR indexes, leading the hotel to surpass industry benchmark standards for performance over a pre-opening time-frame of four months. The resort has consistently grown its occupancy and increased visitor numbers, enabling the property to quickly gain prominence in the Northern Emirates region. The resort has earned a positive welcome from UAE and GCC residents and international travellers alike, with the hotel currently holding the number one position in Dibba on TripAdvisor and a Guest Satisfaction Score of above 86 percent.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort changed the hospitality scene in the emirate?

OMAR SOUAB: The hotel's strategic location hidden between mountainous valleys and the Gulf of Oman creates a sense of exclusivity. Attracting travellers across the Middle East and internationally, the hotel showcases authenticity, a hip interior design and innovative culinary concepts. It offers a wide range of facilities, including the UAE's second Willow Stream Spa, exciting aqua activities and meeting venues designed to inspire creativity and maximise productivity. Five iconic dining venues present unique culinary options, from international cuisine at Canvas, Café Pronto's European-style bistro to Arteasan's art-inspired tearoom, IAMMAI's serene pool and shisha lounge. The resort's signature restaurant, The Copper Lobster, brings locally-sourced seafood and a new gastro bar concept that has been warmly received by its UAE, GCC, UK and CIS target markets.

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: Fujairah's tourism and hospitality sector has grown by leaps and bounds during recent years. Which further actions need to be taken in order to turn Fujairah into a globalised destination?

OMAR SOUAB: There is huge potential for the destination to cater to travellers across the UAE and internationally, particularly as Fujairah marches towards its 2040 vision development plan of integrated growth, […]. As the Fujairah 2040 Framework Plan also acts as an important holistic guide in directing growth and management in key sectors such as regional and local tourism, the addition of Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort contributes positively to the ever growing tourism sector in Fujairah and hospitality market in northern emirates. We strive to be pioneers in the luxury segment and to pave the way for more brands to set base in Fujairah. The resort contributes to the continuous development of Fujairah's international positioning of the region, while reflecting the emirate's energy, culture and heritage in each of its offerings, be it through its wellness and food and beverage offerings, or in the resort's art-inspired arabesque/Berber theme that breathes life into the emirate. An important part of our role as hospitality partners is to support the tourism boards in their efforts to promote the destination. We continue to participate in international trade shows to promote the hotel, the destination and all that Fujairah has to offer. In the fourth quarter this year (Q4), we launched a Friday Market showcasing locally-sourced products with an aim to highlight Fujairah's culture and heritage.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Do you have any further plans in order to attract more customers from the Middle East and North African (MENA) region?

OMAR SOUAB: We have recently launched our private and dedicated beach and will be unveiling the upcoming Lava Beach Club facility in Q4. Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort will fill a significant gap in Fujairah's leisure offerings with one of the region's first ever luxury lifestyle beach clubs. Spanning over 2,600 m2. Lava Beach club will include a multi-function lawn area, luxurious penthouse, amphitheatre-style sun-loungers, and a kids' pool to complement the resort's existing Little Sailors Kids' Club. Facilities will also include a 840 m2 free-form swimming pool in vivid hues of orange and yellow with multiple sunken Jacuzzis, luxury day chalets and unrivalled capabilities for social events. Other features will include a fully licenced restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a sunken pool bar, shisha bar and a DJ station. Lava Beach Club will be a much welcomed lifestyle addition to the destination, attracting visitors from the Middle East as well as international travellers from the UK, Germany, Russia and CIS countries alike.