Excitement is building in Oman with only three weeks to go until the spectacular Al Mouj Golf in Muscat hosts the second edition of the European Tour’s Oman Open, and the Sultanate is set to see tourism boom with the widespread media coverage the tournament attracts playing a huge role in enticing new visitors to the country.
Promoted by the Oman Golf Committee and Golf Oman, the economic impact of the tournament is estimated to be USD$26 million. Through a global television reach of 200 million in addition to exceptional international print and online coverage, the inaugural Oman Open in 2018 generated a media value of USD$74 million as golf fans from around the world were treated to the stunning visuals of the Al Mouj Golf course in its picturesque, coastal setting.
The country has seen a spike in golf tourism off the back of last year’s exposure, with guests flying in to Muscat International Airport from across the globe to play one of the many courses the capital has to offer including host venue Al Mouj Golf, Ghala Golf Club, Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club and Ras Al Hamra.
“Since the inaugural Oman Open visited our shores in February last year, we have seen a rise in international guests wanting to visit our beautiful country to experience the landscape diversity and appreciate the remarkable sights of our mountains, wadis, beaches, desert and cultural heritage sites, and of course play a round at one of our many picturesque golf courses,” said Salim Al Mamari, Director General of the Directorate of Promotions at the Ministry of Tourism.
“We see golf and tourism together as a great platform to promote our country to the world with the Sultanate hosting a European Tour event for the first time last year. Thanks to the widespread media coverage, we were able to welcome an array of visitors to Oman for the first time. In addition to hosting some of the world’s best golfers, we also welcome amateurs from every corner of the world to play at a variety of courses across Oman, including the stunning Greg Norman designed Al Mouj Golf.”
This year, Oman will be further promoted throughout the event with tee boxes around the golf course featuring giant backdrops showcasing the country’s most scenic and vibrant tourism and commerce hot-spots.
The stunning Kempinski – the event’s Official Hotel - is set to host a plethora of European Tour stars during the event while many players are taking advantage of an invitation to travel to the country a week earlier to take in the stunning sights Oman has to offer, as well as preparing for the second staging of the tournament.
“We are delighted to be the official hotel partner for the Oman Open 2019,” said Carsten Wiegandt, General Manager of the Kempinski Hotel, Muscat. “With the increasing number of golfers staying with us at Kempinski Hotel Muscat, this opportunity of hosting the international players and media will provide our property with the opportunity of presenting the best of Omani hospitality and unparalleled service to the international guests attending the event. In addition to this, Kempinski Hotel Muscat will be contributing in showcasing the Sultanate as one of the leading destinations for golf in the Middle East.”
One of the players making the trip to Oman early will be 2016 NBO Golf Classic Grand Final champion Bernd Ritthammer. The 31 year old will be making it a family affair with his wife and child joining him in Muscat for the first time and the German can’t wait to show them a different side of the Middle East.
"I have played in the country several times during the Challenge Tour and also in last year's Oman Open,” said Ritthammer. “From a golfer’s perspective I must say that the course is fantastic and I obviously have great memories of the Al Mouj Golf course due to my victory at the 2016 Challenge Tour event. I also had the chance last year to visit Wadi Shab which was beautiful and a great experience. This year I will arrive a day earlier and will bring my wife and my new born child as I want to show them the beauty of the Sultanate of Oman. My wife is in particular excited to see the Grand Mosque and so am I".