Oman Unveils US$31 Billion Tourism Investment Plans Under ‘Vision 2040’


The tourism industry is a big contributor to Oman’s GDP, aligning with the state’s economic diversification strategy. In 2023, a record-breaking 4 million visitors flocked to the country, boosting non-oil revenues. Consequently, the Sultanate now plans to invest around US$31 billion by 2040 to further boost tourism industry growth.

By Lucia Brancaccio

Oman’s tourism industry is on the ascent. Accounting for 10 percent of its GDP, it has become a cornerstone of Oman’s economic landscape.

This became evident in 2023, when the Sultanate witnessed a record-breaking surge in visitors, reaching around four million tourists – an impressive increase of 38 percent compared to the previous year. Among these, Germany emerged as a key source market, with a staggering 182 percent rise in visitors.

The growth in tourist footfall is a result of Oman’s strategic investments in this sector, aligned with the country’s Vision 2040 project.

Bolstered by this momentum, Oman announced during a press conference in Germany its intention to invest US$31 billion by the year 2040 in the domestic tourism sector. This happened before the start of the ITB Berlin 2024 in early March, considered the world’s largest tourism congress.

Vision 2040

In line with several countries in the Middle East whose revenues have been largely hydrocarbon-dependent, Oman has been stepping up its efforts to pursue economic diversification, as embodied in its Vision 2040 blueprint. The vision aims to drive away the country from its reliance on oil while completing the shift towards a diversified and sustainable one.

Central to this transformation is the tourism industry, identified as a key pillar in feeding into a non-oil economy. As far as this industry is concerned, Vision 2040 sets clear objectives including bolstering infrastructure development through increased investments and enhancing the promotion of Oman’s unique cultural heritage and landscape, thereby amplifying the revenue stream from this sector.

In this context, Oman’s recent commitment to invest a substantial US$31 billion to benefit tourism stands as a clear demonstration of its dedication to realizing Vision 2040 objectives. The investment is directed at creating suitable structures and offering improved leisure activities to attract a more diverse array of tourists.

As part of this project, Oman also declared to have already channeled over US$5.9 billion into 360 projects aimed at the same goal. Previous initiatives implemented to create a conducive environment for tourism, include:

  • Streamlining of visa procedures; and
  • Easing restrictions for travelers from over 100 countries.

ITB Berlin 2024

Oman’s announcement of substantial investment coincided with the hosting of the ITB Berlin Convention 2024, which took place on March 7.

The strategic timing was dictated by ITB’s reputation of being the world’s largest travel industry exhibition, providing an unparalleled platform for displaying Oman’s tourism progress and offerings on a global scale. With its expansive scope and diverse audience, the convention serves as an opportunity for Oman to gain the spotlight, thereby reinforcing its position as a hotspot for travelers.

Oman’s tourism performance

As showcased by the welcoming of four million visitors throughout 2023, Oman achieved record-breaking success in its tourism industry last year.

The momentum has continued also into the early months of 2024, with airport passenger traffic already showing a remarkable growth of 21.6 percent, as reported by the country’s National Center for Statistics and Information.

The hospitality sector, particularly within the 3- to 5-star hotels category, also registered a noteworthy 17.1 percent increase in revenues compared to 2023.

This positive performance bodes well with the target of welcoming around 11 million tourists annually by 2040. This upward trend not only reflects Oman’s proactive approach towards its future objectives but also serves as a testimony of the effectiveness of its ongoing tourism promotion efforts.

Looking ahead, it can be expected that the introduction of new policies and initiatives throughout 2024 aimed at further enhancing Oman’s appeal as a tourist destination will set the stage for sustained growth in tourists arrivals in the coming years.


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