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Oman Chosen as a Finalist to Host a Major International Congress in 2017

The Sultanate of Oman has been selected as one of the finalists to host 1,500 delegates at one of its first large-scale international congresses in 2017 to be held at the new Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat.

Oman is competing against some of the world’s best convention destinations of Turkey, Singapore, India, Malaysia and South America to host the 37th annual congress of the International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

Chairman of the IAHR Middle East North Africa Collaborative Committee and Director of Centre for Environmental Research and Studies at Sultan Qaboos University, Dr. Mahad bin Said Baawain said that if the Sultanate bid was successful, it would be the first time the Middle East or North Africa region would host this congress.

Following on from the successful hosting of the Arabian Coast Conference at Sultan Qaboos University in 2010, Oman is well placed to host the event, due to its World Heritage-listed Falaj systems, extensive dam and ground water monitoring systems, seawater desalination and water supply systems as well as water resources management tasks and associated training programs.

“We have received an excellent response and support from IAHR members in Africa, China, Japan and Korea who have welcomed Oman’s bid to place a global spotlight on fields related to hydro-environmental studies and its complexities and open new avenues of research collaboration not only in Oman but in the Middle East and North African region,” Dr. Baawain said.

The opportunity to bid for this congress was identified during the launch of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre at the global meetings industry, trade show EIBTM in Barcelona in November 2011.

Positive feedback from both international and regional organisations

Since its appointment as venue manager, AEG Ogden has received positive feedback from both international and regional organisations to consider Oman for future congresses, and is being supported by the Omani community to bid for these lucrative events.

AEG Ogden’s Group Manager, Convention Sales Development, Rochelle Uechtritz said being the only Middle East destination chosen as a finalist is testament to the Sultanate’s diversity and destination appeal as well as the commitment of the Government and Omani individuals who have been actively involved with international and regional organisations for decades.

“While 2017 was a long way off, most international organisations planned five to eight years ahead and IAHR would be no exception.

“We have had enormous confidence in Oman as a convention destination, we cannot bid for these events alone. They must be supported by the Omani member, association or society to become the local host.

“That support will again be crucial in another bid soon to be lodged soon for a world medical congress for 3,000 delegates in 2018,” Uechtritz said.

She said during the pre-opening phase of the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, AEG Ogden would continue to identify and target potential congresses which are suited to the Sultanate’s key economic sectors.

“We will continue to approach Omani specialists, such as Dr. Baawain and utilise our expertise to prepare world-class bid submissions to meet the stringent criteria and compete on a global scale,” Uechritz said.

This is only one of many large-scale convention leads that AEG Ogden is in advanced stages to secure for the Sultanate and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre right through to 2024.

The successful host country for 2017 will be announced at the 36thAnnual IAHR Congress in Chengdu, Korea in September this year.

Photo: Dr Mahad Baawain, IAHR MENA Collaborative Committee Chair and Rochelle Uechtritz, AEG Ogden Group Manager Convention Sales Development.