Hyatt sees bright outlook
Leisure traffic is picking up in Oman although the meetings and conference market continues to lag, says Grand Hyatt Muscat director of business development, Folkert Van Dijk.Van Dijk said the hotel has seen a rise in number of leisure guests beginning this year following the downturn sparked by September 11 attacks in the US last year. He said European travellers, who account for 40 per cent of bookings at Grand Hyatt, were returning to Oman. Besides travellers from Europe, mainly from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Holland, the hotel also attracts regular visitors from regional neighbours including businessmen from Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, said Van Dijk. He said the outlook for the group travel and MICE sector which had looked positive pre-September 11, took a nosedive after the terror attacks and continue to lag. Van Dijk expressed optimism on the hotel's outlook this year, saying the relaxation in visa rules under which visa costs have been brought down while many nationalities can now obtain visa on arrival at the airport, has already made a difference in attracting visitors to Oman. He said several positive steps had been taken by the government to boost Oman's tourism profile including increased participation in trade shows, roadshows and local involvement, adding the hotel was doing its part to aid the process. Grand Hyatt is currently offering an attractive stay-seven-pay-five deal which had been well-received, said Van Dijk, adding special summer promotions were also in the pipeline. Spread over 10 acres on the sandy beach of Shatti Al Qurum, Muscat's embassy district, the 280-room Grand Hyatt Muscat offers extensive business and recreation facilities and a wide range of dining and entertainment options. For business visitors, the hotel offers two floors of exclusive Grand Club accommodation comprising 40 rooms and 19 suites. The "hotel within a hotel" provides complimentary breakfast, all-day tea and coffee service, pre-dinner drinks in a private lounge, two boardrooms and terrace, besides a fully-equipped Hyatt Business Centre. Conference and banqueting facilities include a range of meeting and function rooms besides a 750 sq m ballroom which can seat 700 guests.