Oman plans its Mice calendar

The amphitheater at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre

THE Sultanate of Oman has been selected as one of the finalist to host 1,500 delegates at one of its first large-scale international congresses in 2017 to be held at the $1.8 billion Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre that is set to open the same year.

Oman is competing against some of the world’s best convention destinations of Turkey, Singapore, India, Malaysia and South America to host the 37th annual congress of the International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

Chairman of the IAHR Middle East North Africa Collaborative Committee and Director of Centre for Environmental Research and Studies at Sultan Qaboos University, Dr. Mahad bin Said Baawain said if the Sultanate bid was successful, it would be the first time the Middle East or North Africa region would host this congress.

Following on from the successful hosting of the Arabian Coast Conference at Sultan Qaboos University in 2010, Oman is well placed to host this prestigious event, due to its World Heritage-listed Falaj systems, extensive dam and ground water monitoring systems, seawater desalination and water supply systems as well as water resources management tasks and associated training programs.

The opportunity to bid for this congress was identified during the launch of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre at the global meetings industry, trade show EIBTM in Barcelona in November 2011.

AEG Ogden’s group manager, Convention Sales Development, Rochelle Uechtritz said being the only Middle East destination chosen as a finalist is testament to the Sultanate’s diversity and destination appeal as well as the commitment of the Government and Omani individuals who have been actively involved with international and regional organisations for decades.

“While 2017 was a long way off, most international organisations planned five to eight years ahead and IAHR would be no exception.

“We have had enormous confidence in Oman as a convention destination; we cannot bid for these events alone. They must be supported by the Omani member, association or society to become the local host.

“That support will again be crucial in another bid soon to be lodged soon for a world medical congress for 3,000 delegates in 2018,” Uechtritz said.

“We will continue to approach Omani specialists, such as Dr. Baawain and utilise our expertise to prepare world-class bid submissions to meet the stringent criteria and compete on a global scale,” she added.

This is only one of many large-scale convention leads that AEG Ogden is in advanced stages to secure for the Sultanate and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre right through to 2024. The successful host country for 2017 will be announced at the 36th Annual IAHR Congress in Chengdu, Korea in September this year.

At the recently concluded Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings (GIBTM) exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the Ministry highlighted the Sultanate’s growing reputation as a popular business tourism destination with its aggressive development of various Mice amenities, including the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The new centre will have a 3,000 seat facility with four hotels offering 1,000 guest rooms, a nationally significant development that will allow Oman to host international business events and conferences.

Khalid Al Zadjali, director of Tourism Events at the Oman Ministry of Tourism, said: “GIBTM has always been an important platform that complements the Ministry’s continuing efforts to promote Oman as an ideal destination for business and leisure tourism. The success of our participation at GIBTM 2013 has set the pace for the rest of the initiatives and activities that we have lined up for the year.”