This article has just been published by the Gulf News:
Muscat: Demand for hotel rooms in Oman far exceeds the current availability of around 4,000, according to a top executive in the hospitality industry.
"Currently about 4,000 rooms in different facilities are available across Oman and at the rate the tourism and hotel industries are growing, the demand could double in the next five years," D. Shekar, general manager Hotel Projects and Operations with the Safeer Tourism and Hotel Company, told Gulf News on the sidelines of formal opening of the group's new four-star facility - Safeer Plaza Hotel Suits - in Al Khuwair district.
"Al Khuwair is going to be what Deira is to Dubai due to its centralised location," said Shekar.
His company has already opened three properties in this fast developing district, which is close to the international airport as well as the central market of the capital, Muscat.
He also said that the recent tropical cyclone Gonu did not affect any hotels in the Al Khuwair area as it was landlocked and out of the path of any wadi.
"There's a potential in developing hospitality properties in areas off the coastal areas too," he said.
Shekar said that the general tourism boom in Asia and the Oman government's efforts to lure visitors had fuelled growth in the recent times.
"With Oman Air becoming the sole national carrier, they are expanding at a rapid pace and that reflects in growing inbound traffic of tourists. Consequently the demand of rooms keeps rising," Ali Al Hadi, group general manager, Oman Commercial Agencies, said.
Talking about his company's latest addition, Safeer Plaza Hotel suits, Sekhar said it was children-friendly. "Probable for the first time in the region, we have added children's room, complete with toys, children's bed sheets, cartoon wall hangings and other paraphernalia," he said.
In reply to a question on the funds pumped in by the group, he said,: "We would not like to reveal the amount of money we have or we would invest in our properties."
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