General manager, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Katrin Herz speaks exclusively to Natalie Hami about how the luxury property will continue to entice travellers to its doors.
TTG: With the recent announcements to boost tourism to the country, what will this mean for your business and the destination as a whole?
Greater international visibility for our destination means that we are reaching a larger audience and potentially attracting new segments of travellers. We continue to adapt our services and products to these new travellers.
The Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre opening in 2016 will contribute greatly to driving business to our city. We anticipate the centre will attract a number of global congresses and events, and Muscat will be an even greater potential location for business events.
TTG: How will you be aligning your future strategy with that of the Ministry of Tourism’s?
We are seeking to develop our culinary offering with a focus on Omani cuisine and traditional dishes. Authenticity is key in our industry and in our destination, and we strive to protect and share our rich Omani heritage, in line with the Ministry’s recent announcements and strategy.
In a similar way, the Ministry of Tourism is increasingly focusing on showcasing Oman as a perfect family destination. We are very enthusiastic about our family programme and Ritz Kids activities, which we keep developing and innovating.
Al Bustan Palace is a wonderful resort for families, who enjoy the peaceful and safe environment of our private beachfront, along with an endless list of activities available in the area.
TTG: What types of unforgettable experiences do you offer visitors in order to ensure a great time for them and also that they return to the Sultanate?
Increasingly, travellers are looking for authentic, off-the-beaten-path experiences; they want to meet the bedouins in the desert, or hear the stories from the merchant at the souk; they want to be immersed in the Omani lifestyle. There are not that many destinations which can offer these types of experiences anymore, but Oman is a gem of a destination.
We create tailor made, 360 degree packages that take our guests from the majestic Atrium lobby and superb new Six Senses Spa at Al Bustan Palace to the desert or green mountain Jebel Akhdar, combining refined and elegant hospitality with authentic excursions.
TTG: How will you be promoting your tourism offering to both tourists and the travel trade?
We maintain very strong relationships with our partners and clients, through a carefully curated travel network. Our 30-year presence in the market has only strengthened over the years and our sales team is dedicated to nurturing relationships with this valuable network, while creating new ones.
With a stronger presence in some of the major trade shows around the world, Al Bustan Palace reinforces its global positioning.
TTG: What tourism projects do you know of currently underway in Oman?
The new Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, the new International Airport and a shopping complex on the outskirts of town are some of the ambitious projects currently under development.