Unlocking Oman’s tourism potential
Sundus Rotana Muscat has mapped out its future with focus on creating employment opportunities for Omanis and contributing to the Sultanate’s 2040 tourism strategy, says General Manager, David Faull
Sundus Rotana opened its door in late 2017. Could you talk about the operations and some of the unique offerings of the hotel?
Sundus Rotana is part of Rotana, one of the leading hospitality management companies in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. The hotel is located minutes away from the new Muscat International Airport and offers its guests unforgettable experiences. Characterised by modern architecture and cutting-edge facilities, Sundus Rotana includes 215 stylish rooms and suites, six flexible meeting and conference rooms, in addition to an elegant ballroom and Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club fully equipped with a gymnasium, swimming pool and steam rooms. Fulfilling the Rotana legacy of culinary excellence, the property also features three signature restaurants including the Lobby Lounge café, Ginger All-Day Dining serving an international buffet complemented by an à la carte menu and a well-known Taste of Rotana Friday Brunch. The hotel’s signature restaurant is the award-winning, Teatro restaurant which brings the best flavours of Japan, Italy, India, Thailand and China to Muscat. Just recently, the hotel added Fumo By Ginger – a stylish tent by the pool area serving food, drinks, shisha and currently streaming live the World Cup on a large screen.
What is Sundus Rotana’s future outlook?
Sundus Rotana is a corporate/leisure hotel and we expect to do well in both sectors. Our proximity to the airport is a great benefit for us as it is convenient for transit passengers. The hotel has some great components to feed all markets. We are a great stopover for large tourist groups who will be staying over in Muscat. With the existing ballroom and meeting rooms, the hotel is hosting many Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Events (MICE) activities as well as social events like weddings, birthdays etc. We are launching an Explore Muscat tour with beach access for our guests. This way the guests will have an opportunity to see Muscat’s main landmarks and spend a day on the beach while staying with us. Our strategy will focus on cementing Sundus Rotana’s position as the ideal host in the Omani market through debuting compelling concepts and creating the perfect experiences for our guests.
What are the major challenges facing Oman’s tourism and hospitality sector?
Oman has one of the most diverse environments in the Gulf region with various tourist attractions and is particularly well known for cultural tourism. However, as every country, Oman must adapt to a constantly changing world. Oman relied a lot on domestic tourism recently but this is changing and we see more and more international travellers visiting the Sultanate. When it comes to our tourism and hospitality sector there are many things like visa restrictions, direct flights, Omanisation rates, infrastructure that are considered the key challenges facing the growth. Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has identified these and other important challenges and are working hard hand in hand with all of us to develop further the tourism sector. The new Muscat International Airport, Oman Convention & Exhibition centre are one of the biggest boosts for the tourism sectors. The opening of the airport allowed the airlines to open more flight destinations which means more guests to us and more visitors to Oman while the opening of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre has a sizeable impact on Oman’s economy and the MICE segment in particular. The relaxation of visa requirements is encouraging longer stays, and visits to multiple regions and attractions. Other developments under construction across Oman include adventure destinations and parks and entertainment centres. Major upgrades and projects are definitely the way to go and Oman is working on the tools needed to fulfil the future goals boost tourism growth.
How is Sundus Rotana going to boost the Sultanate’s tourism prospects and contribute towards enhancing the capacity of the tourism sector in general?
Like any new property, Sundus Rotana’s current objective is to expand its customer base and increase occupancy levels by introducing facilities that connect our guests to Muscat. Drawing on the brand’s expertise, we have mapped out the property’s future with more employment opportunities for Omanis as well as the introduction of award-winning services that will raise our contribution to the Sultanate’s 2040 tourism strategy. To that end, we are already making headway raising Omanisation levels, nurturing the growth of high-potential Omanis, and creating a pool of hospitality professionals who will support the industry’s development. We also see a surge in traffic with the recent opening of the new Muscat International Airport. This terminal unlocks further Oman’s tourism value and leads to an increase in visitor numbers. Such an infrastructural milestone is boosting traffic to successful events such as the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, the Marathon, Tour of Oman, etc. which successfully accommodated. Our strategy will focus on cementing Sundus Rotana’s position as the ideal host in the Omani market through debuting compelling concepts and creating the perfect experiences for