Drs. Nan Hua and Robertico Croes from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management are part of a team that received the His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Award in the Sultanate of Oman, a $150,000 research grant to study Oman’s tourism industry. This is the country’s most prestigious research accolade. The team also includes Drs. Khaldoon Nusair, Saeed Al-Muharrami, Nisar Ahmed and Hamed Al-Azri from Sultan Qaboos University and Salah Al-Miwali from Riyada/Oman. The project will be completed over three years from 2016 to 2018.

The purpose of the grant is to examine the economic impact of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) operating in Oman’s hospitality and tourism sector to determine the role they play in the country’s economy and how its population benefits. In turn, this information will help identify local stakeholders and strategies to develop cohesion, which is critical for Oman’s hospitality and tourism sector to flourish.

SMEs need to grow and become increasingly competitive in order to make greater contributions to the economy. In the case of Oman, understanding the economic impact of tourism SMEs will help identify an inclusive system of stakeholders crucial for sustainable tourism development. This research will also investigate exactly what kinds of travelers are visiting Oman and analyze their spending behaviors to help decision makers develop effective tourism products to capitalize on demand. The results of this research will offer leaders practical guidance, best practices and policy recommendations intended to drive Oman’s tourism sector and ultimately, its economy, forward.

Learn more about Rosen College’s research capabilities.