Hotel seeks aggressive tourism push

Relaxing by the poolside at the Radisson SAS Hotel Muscat.

Oman has to be doubly aggressive to get back on track as a leisure destination following the dramatic impact of last September's attacks in the US, says Radisson SAS Hotel Muscat sales and marketing director.

Expressing optimism of a recovery in second half of this year, Marc Fletcher said the recent relaxation of visa procedures was an encouraging sign that the Sultanate was making an effort to attract tourism.

He also welcomed the new visa arrangements with Dubai, adding "the connection, almost partnership with Dubai, is also something we can build upon as a destination".

"From a hotel's point of view, I feel that we (the hotels) offer a great product here in Muscat. Now the focus should be on improving the infrastructure around us," said Fletcher.

"There needs to be investment in things like golf courses and other sports. There also needs to be improvement in shopping centres, although Majid Al Futtaim's new Muscat City Centre shows a great step forward and leads the way in how other investors need to think about retail."

Fletcher said the hotel which has a target mix of 60 per cent leisure guests and 40 per cent business suffered a sharp loss in its leisure business, reducing the materialisation of group business from 80 per cent to 15 per cent.

"FITs are now returning but groups will take longer. However we are optimistic of a recovery for the second part of the 2002 season in October," he said.

Just 12 minutes away from the Seeb International Airport, The Radisson SAS Hotel is ideally located and equipped for both business and leisure guest and closed 2001 at almost 80 per cent occupancy.

For the business traveller, the hotel offers a 24-hour business centre with complimentary Internet access. Other facilities include a business class floor, express laundry, voicemail, direct dial telephone and dataports.

For the leisure guest, the hotel has its own private beach club, with complimentary shuttle. The guest can also relax at the Fontana Health Club with fully equipped gym, sauna and steam rooms. Other facilities include two bars and two restaurants offering an excellent selection of food and entertainment.

The hotel which is only two years old, recently renovated and reopened its hair dressing salon and opened a new aerobics room.

It has lined up various promotions this summer to encourage leisure business.