The two-day forum welcomed associations and industry experts from around the world who arrived in Oman to share both their expertise as well as build new relationships with local associations in Oman in the hope of hosting upcoming conferences and events.
The informative event also provided a platform for knowledge exchange and professional development for local businesses and professional communities, encouraging them to be more active in order to achieve business growth. By hosting the forum, Oman also had the opportunity to showcase the destination to the ICCA global community and build momentum for future conferences and events.
The first expert forum was a celebrated success, hosting 183 participants over the 2-day event as well as welcoming 29 local associations from across the country. The forum was also attended by several high-ranking ministers, including the Undersecretary of Tourism, H.E Maitha Al Mahrooqi and the CEO of Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN), Peter Walichnowski, all who are supporting the Sultanate to become a business hub for global events and conferences.
The forum began with an address by H.E Maitha Al Mahrooqi before moving onto talks and panel discussions including a case study about ‘how a country bene?ts from intellectual capital’ by Mike Iliopoulos, ISS/SIC Administrative Director at the International Society of Surgery and a talk by Senthil Gopinath, Regional Director ME ICCA, about the meetings industry and its economic impact. Day two went on to discuss; ‘teamwork; partnership, consortia and networks – why meetings success requires collaborative thinking and behaviour’, delivered by Kai Troll, Executive Director at Best Buddies Europe ME Africa, plus a round table discussion, addressing how companies can win events through teamwork and partnerships.
Trevor McCartney, General Manager at Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre comments; “Thanks to the development of the new airport and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, I believe we have huge potential in becoming the next business hub for international meetings. We look forward to continuing to work with the local associations and encouraging them to be active so that together, we can bring even more international business to the Sultanate”.
The success continues with the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and the Oman Convention Bureau successfully winning another two major congresses, the World Hospital Congress in 2019 as well as the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in 2020. These conferences are included in the eleven congresses the country has already won, kicking off with the ACI Airport Exchange hosted by Oman Airports Management Company from 5-7 December 2017 and the UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture from 11 – 12 December 2017.
Khalid Al Zadjali, Director of the Oman Convention Bureau said, “With the help of the ICCA Oman Meetings Association Expert Forum the Sultanate of Oman is quickly becoming a sought-after destination for association meetings in the Arabian Gulf, thanks to the rapid development of infrastructure and education and the country’s deep-rooted culture and heritage.”
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.
OCEC currently has 22,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space which will be followed by the soon to launch, 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.