MANUEL LEVONIAN, GENERAL MANAGER, CROWNE PLAZA RESORT SALALAH OFFERS THE INSIDER’S VIEW ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF SULTANATE’S CORPORATE TRAVEL SECTOR AND THE REASONS BEHIND ITS RISING PROFILE.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was business in the first half (H1) of this year in terms of corporate travel?
MANUEL LEVONIAN: H1 has been definitely better compared to 2016. We have seen more confidence in corporate spending compared to same time in 2016.
The business travel to Salalah has been improved due to the upcoming projects in the vicinity.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How do you approach business travellers and what makes your property an ideal choice for such guests?
MANUEL LEVONIAN: At Crowne Plaza we make business travel work by bringing humanity to business travel.
We provide a premium hotel experience that helps high achieving professionals to be at the top of their game.
By combining seamless services and technology with the right facilities, we enable guests to be productive, feel successful and build meaningful relationships with their clients and colleagues while travelling for business.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: In your opinion, what are the main factors behind Oman’s rising popularity as a MICE travel destination?
MANUEL LEVONIAN: Oman is known for its rich culture and traditions and the government's approach in keeping this aspect of Omani life intact has helped in increasing tourism numbers.
Slowly, but steadily the country has arrived on the international stage.
Oman rejoices in a uniquely diverse landscape of spectacular mountains, desert and beach. Most resorts combine two of the three: mountains meet sea, mountains meet desert, and towering sand dunes meet lapping waters. Omanis are proud of their beautiful country and warmly welcome those who want to discover its attractions.
These factors of true hospitality influence the MICE business to the country.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What developments in Oman’s tourism industry would you highlight and how do you foresee the sector’s growth in the years to come?
MANUEL LEVONIAN: Th last few years proved record years for Oman’s tourism industry, with the number of incoming visitors topping those of previous years and wide media coverage promoting the country’s increasingly cemented status as a niche tourism destination.
The preservation of the country’s natural surroundings and cultural traditions has allowed it to keep much of the Spirit of Beauty has an address and indeed tourism has been deliberately kept at the high end, with marketing aimed at visitors who are interested in engaging with local culture, nature and history.
Meanwhile, various developments look set to bolster the sector moving forward, with the ongoing expansion of Muscat International Airport a prime example.
new terminal is currently under construction which will boast an expected capacity of 12 million passengers per annum, with further capacity to accommodate four times that number in the future.
This will definitely improve the business travel to the destination too.