As a direct result of Oman’s new convention centre facilities, part of the new Madinat Al Irfan urban development, the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) and the Oman Convention Bureau are celebrating a double-win having successfully won two major congresses; the World Hospital Congress in 2019 and the Royal Congress of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in 2020.
The World Hospital Congress of the International Hospital Federation (IHF) will bring its annual convention to Oman in 2019. The announcement was made official following a bid presentation in Taipei, Taiwan where the delegation from the Ministry of Health led by Dr. Qasem Al Salmi, Director General, visited the Taiwanese capital to present to the International Hospital Federation. The congress is expected to bring approximately 1,000 delegates to the Sultanate and is expected to generate over OMR 800,000 (USD $2 million) for the country.
The success continues as the Oman Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology won their first bid to host the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists’ World Congress. Oman is expected to welcome over 2,500 delegates for the world congress in the spring of 2020. Lynn Whitley, the Director of Business Development at RCOG stated that “The RCOG is very excited to be bringing our World Congress to Oman in 2020. The brand new Convention Centre together with the enthusiasm of the local doctors and the beauties of Oman made it a winning combination and we are looking forward to a highly successful international congress.”
The precinct is a key component of Madinat Al Irfan, the new urban development in the heart of Muscat being developed by Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN). The state-of-the-art development has recently seen the grand opening of the four-star Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC, which is the first of three hotels to open within the new Madinat Al Irfan district. Development of the area is fast progressing, with the five-star JW Marriot hotel and the completed Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre set to open in 2018. Once complete, the precinct will also include a business park, retail shopping areas and residential districts, surrounded by a nature reserve that will be a haven for Oman’s exotic birdlife, together with parklands and a wadi park. The Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre currently has 22,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space that will be followed by the soon to launch, a 450-seat auditorium, two versatile ballrooms, 20 meeting rooms with a capacity of up to 360 delegates, hospitality suites, a VIP pavilion and finally a tiered theatre with 3,200 seats.
To date, Oman has confirmed 11 international and regional conferences – of which the centre welcomed its first two international events in December 2017. Kicking off was the ACI Airport Exchange hosted by Oman Airports Management Company from 5-7 December, which brought together the world’s airport community for the largest event in the ACI calendar, considered to be one of the most important gatherings in the aviation industry. Following this, the Centre was excited to have welcomed the second edition of the UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture held from 11 – 12 December 2017. The conference brought together Ministers of Tourism and Ministers of Culture as well as private sector stakeholders and experts with the objective of building and strengthening partnerships between the Tourism and Culture sectors in order to enhance their role in the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
The newly established Oman Convention Bureau, part of the Ministry of Tourism has forecasted the economic impact to the country from the 11 confirmed conferences won to be 15.5 million Omani Rials (USD $40.25 million). The bureau’s director, Khalid Al Zadjali said his organisation and the centre are currently working together to secure even more events that will give even greater economic and strategic benefits to Oman.