Muscat: If developments in Oman in recent years are anything to go by, there’s a new MICE destination that is making its presence felt on the Arabian Gulf peninsula. The Sultanate, apart from attracting high end travelers keen on experiencing authentic Arab hospitality and exciting adventure options, is also becoming a preferred hub for MICE activities.

Apart from being a world class holiday destination, the Sultanate has been focusing on developing a self-reliant district for MICE tourism.

While superb air connectivity and an uncomplicated visa regime are the main draws, at the heart of this new strategy lies master developer Omran’s Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC). Since its inauguration towards the end of 2016, OCEC has been giving potential MICE clients every reason to consider the Arab nation. Also, the new Muscat International Airport which opened its doors to travellers earlier this year has redefined airport standards and enhanced passenger experience. OCEC is located only four kilometres away from Muscat International Airport, which is an advantage for MICE travellers.

Oman Air is connected through 161 direct flights every week from major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Kochi, Goa, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat. Besides, Air India, Jet Airways, Spicejet and IndiGo are also well connected to Muscat from various cities in India. Oman is around three hours by flight from India, a factor that MICE organizers find very compelling.

Oman recently announced a new short-term tourist visa at 5 OMR (Omani Riyal) for a 10-day visit to the Sultanate. Indians who hold a valid visa to United States of America, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan or Schengen States can avail the visa through an e-visa process by simply logging on to and making the payment on checkout. Other Indian travelers can get a sponsored visa by paying 5 OMR plus processing fee through their tour operators. This is in addition to the existing e-visa which is available at 20 OMR with a one-month validity.

While many new international hotel chains have recently opened in Oman, the fully-integrated OCEC precinct pretty much takes care of every MICE traveler’s needs. The district will host three hotels, including the recently opened four-star Crowne Plaza and the five-star JW Marriot hotel which is coming up soon. Other features to look out for include a business park, retail shopping areas and residential districts. OCEC offers a splendid view of a wadi that is a haven for Oman’s exotic birdlife. A nature reserve and parklands are also in the offing so that visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in all things Oman.