October 20, 2015
Lincoln, Neb. — Dipra Jha, assistant professor of practice in Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, recently traveled to Oman to deliver a keynote presentation at the 2015 World Tourism Day celebration. The event, hosted by Oman Tourism College in Muscat on Sept. 30, was attended by high-ranking government officials as well as hospitality and tourism industry leaders.
In keeping with the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s theme of “One Billion Tourists. One Billion Opportunities,” Jha spoke about how Oman could benefit from experience-based tourism. Citing examples of destinations and brands that have successfully adopted the experience model, he highlighted Oman’s abundant natural beauty and its unique culture as a draw for visitors seeking authentic experiences.
“We are delighted to have professor Dipra participate in the 2015 World Tourism Day talk and panel discussion and share his expertise with us here in Oman,” said Dr. Abdulkarim bin Sultan Al Mughairi, dean of Oman Tourism College. “We look forward to more such collaboration with University of Nebraska—Lincoln in the future.”
Located in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a stable and prosperous nation of 4.1 million people. Currently, 80 percent of Oman’s gross domestic product comes from oil and gas; however, the country is strategically diversifying its economy with tourism being identified as a key area for growth. A new tourism strategy will be announced soon to further boost this sector. Oman is experiencing robust year-to-year growth in tourism with almost 2.2 million tourists visiting the country in 2013. The government is making significant investments in tourism-related infrastructure as well as human capital development. In 2016, a new airport with a 12 million annual passenger capacity will be inaugurated in Muscat, the country’s capital. A 237,000 square foot convention and exhibition center is currently under construction to attract meetings, incentive travelers, conventions, and exhibitions to the country as well. Oman’s national carrier Oman Air is undergoing a major fleet expansion.
Oman is one of the eight priority countries identified by UNL for international engagement. Since 2013, UNL has hosted Omani students sponsored by the Sultan of Oman’s Scholarship Program. Currently, approximately 120 students are studying at UNL. The students have formed an Omani student organization with the goal of helping other UNL students to learn more about Oman and its culture.
Established in 2001 by the Government of Oman, Oman Tourism College is the pre-eminent institution for education, training and development in tourism, hospitality, events, culinary arts and languages. The college is located in Seeb and 550 students are enrolled in a range of specialized undergraduate and professional courses.
Josh Davis, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement at UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, commented, “Omani students have been a wonderful addition to UNL’s campus, and we are eager to expand our collaboration with Omani institutions to include research and other programming. Tourism and hospitality management is one of the many areas in which I hope we can do even more with Oman.”
Jha’s trip was partially funded by an International Impact Grant from the Office of Global Engagement at IANR. These funds are intended to support faculty as they establish new international partnerships, especially in priority countries such as Oman.
Tourism is Nebraska’s third largest earner of revenue from outside the state after agriculture and manufacturing, bringing in excess of $4 billion annually and supporting 45,600 jobs. Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management is one of the fastest growing majors at UNL and resides jointly in the College of Education and Human Sciences and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
IANR Global Engagement