AEG Ogden, one of the world’s leading convention and exhibition management companies has been appointed to operate the new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) in Muscat.

The Centre is being developed by Omran, the company established by the Government of Oman to deliver major projects and manage its assets and investments in the tourism sector.

The Centre will feature an elaborate tiered auditorium to seat 3,200 while the exhibition halls will feature 22,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space. Halls 1 and 2 will have a superior fit out, specialised acoustic treatment, advanced lighting and rigging requirements to act as a multi-purpose space for plenary sessions, concerts, performances, gala events on a larger scale of up to 10,000 seated, theatre-style.

Site preparation works for the Centre are well underway. The OCEC will have a two-stage opening schedule with the Exhibition Halls coming online in 2014, supplemented by the auditorium, banquet halls and meetings rooms in late 2015.

The CEO of Omran, Eng. Wael bin Ahmed Al Lawati said a number of important considerations had been factored into the project.

“As a responsible citizen, Omran sought to achieve the Sultanate’s economic diversification vision, to protect the environment and to deliver long-term benefits to local communities and the national economy.

“AEG Ogden comes with an undisputed reputation for delivering international standard venue management services in the Asia Pacific region. With their vast expertise and philosophy of providing patrons with an unforgettable experience, we can be certain that our unified vision will transform the Sultanate to an information hub for specialised industries,” he said.

“The project in its construction phase will create approximately 6,000 employment opportunities for young and motivated Omanis. More than 50% of construction expenditure will be spent in the Sultanate, creating businesses and jobs up and down the supply chain.

“The Centre will generate social economic benefits for the country and will place Oman on the world map by playing host to global and large scale conferences and events,” Eng. Wael bin Ahmed Al Lawati said.

AEG Ogden Group Director, Convention Centres, Geoff Donaghy said they were both proud and honoured to have been entrusted with the responsibility of managing what will become an iconic venue in the Gulf region.

Mr Donaghy said AEG Ogden had been involved in the design and planning of the Centre to date and would now utilise its experience, extensive worldwide network and expertise in preparing the Centre for opening and competing for its share of the lucrative business events market.

“AEG Ogden’s reputation in operating award-winning venues is acknowledged worldwide and it will work closely with Omran, the Ministry of Tourism and the local community to deliver first-class events that showcase the traditional and unique Omani hospitality.”

“There are more than 200 convention and exhibition centres competing on the world stage for a slice of the business events pie but research already undertaken has identified international conventions with the potential to be held in Oman as far ahead as 2024,” he said.

Mr Donaghy said the OCEC and its surrounding precinct were Omran’s “jewel in the crown” and would globally position the country as a highly desirable and capable destination to host some of the world’s most prestigious business events that have not been possible previously.

He said globally, Oman was well positioned to become an important player in the business events industry. According to a recent study at the Gulf’s premier meetings event, GIBTM, Oman was recognised as an emerging business events destination.