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Summit explores Oman’s potential to become a convention destination


Eng. Wael Al Lawati, CEO of Omran. Photo - Jun Estrada/Times of Oman

Muscat: Experts and industry professionals gathered at the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Advisory Summit 2014 to discuss the Oman's potential to become a major convention destination.  

The two-day conference, which opened here on Sunday, is being held for the first time in the Middle East and was organised by the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) and Omran. The meeting was held under the patronage of Sheikh Al Fadhil bin Mohammed Al Harthy, secretary-general of the Council of Ministers. 

With 223 delegates in attendance, the summit put a special focus on the OCEC's potential and highlighted the meeting and convention industry's pivotal role in creating jobs, enhancing the value chain and generating robust economic returns. Participants engaged actively in panel discussions, presentations and networking sessions to address the current and future trends in the meetings and conventions industry, relating to their specific fields of expertise. 

The summit examined how planners make decisions on where they hold meetings and the local service expectations in addition to global accreditations available in the industry and their value in professional convention management.  

Eng. Wael Al Lawati, chief executive officer of Omran deliberated on the reason the international and regional meetings and conventions organisers should choose Oman. 

Economic diversification
"The meetings and conventions sector can and will open new doors for diversification of the Sultanate's economy," he said. "We are coming together to demonstrate why Oman and Muscat in particular is fast becoming recognised as a destination of choice for convention delegates. What makes Oman unique is an essence that is difficult to describe and is felt from the minute a visitor lands in one of our airports, arrives in one of our ports or crosses over our border. It is about the natural beauty, timeless culture, collective spirit and hospitable people that form the heart and soul of what this nation has to offer." 

Sherrif Karamat, chief operating officer of PCMA, said that he has been inspired by the country's vision for a diversified economy by 2020, an economy that creates employment and opportunities with a real desire to be a leader in the region. "This vision combined with the passion and warmth of the Omani people made me want to be part of what promises to be an exciting future."  

Trevor McCartney, OCEC general manager, called the summit the ideal networking and educational platform to address key trends that will shape the future of the meetings and conventions industry in Oman. 

"Building on the Sultanate's long history of attracting leisure tourists, we are facilitating the international exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise from the best of the best in the industry to boost Oman's appeal for business tourism," he said.

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