National Omani Hospitality Company, established by Omran, has introduced ‘Atana’, a first of its kind Omani hotel brand that blends age-old local tradition with contemporary culture. Two hotels in Musandam province now carry the ‘Atana’ tag, says Pascal Eppink, its Managing Director, in an interview with Oommen John P.
Can you give us a brief about National Omani Hospitality Company?
National Omani Hospitality Company is a hospitality operator company, established by Omran to develop its operations. The initiative to establish the company started around two years ago. As Omran has been growing with hospitality assets, it makes sense to have a hospitality operating company. The company’s first product is the four-star destination resort branded ‘Atana’ – an Omani chain of hotels. ‘Atana’, is a first of its kind Omani hotel brand that blends age-old local tradition with contemporary culture. Atana, a four-star hotel and resort operator, aims to celebrate the diversity and integrity of the country and its people, enabling guests to explore genuine Omani hospitality experience.
What’s unique about the Atana brand?
Atana in Arabic means “came to us” and it is an Omani brand. We have done extensive research and have consulted certain reputable companies before coming out with the brand. Atana Hotels brand is set to be a celebration of Omani hospitality at its very best, incorporating its rich diversity, culture and warmth of the Omani people and the engagement of the local communities joining hands with Atana Hotels. The Atana Hotels brand also offers Omanis the chance to explore new parts of their own country and feel at home instantly in its properties, while providing a fascinating insight into Oman for global tourists.
How many properties does the company own?
Atana Hotels have marked their presence in Musandam and Khasab, two of the Sultanate’s most picturesque regions. Atana Hotels offer relaxing environments with Omani-inspired lifestyle concepts and guest experiences which keep them coming back.
The company currently owns two hotel properties in Musandam province. Atana Khasab is one of them, which has 59 rooms. In the next 12 months, the company will renovate, upgrade facilities, renovate the rooms and also add new facilities. Yet another hotel is Atana Musandam, which opened in June. The hotel reflects Omani architecture. It’s a reflection of the brand image. We have involved a lot of talented Omani people, including a well-known Omani chef and Omani artist to enhance the hotels’ brand offering. Furthermore, we have also engaged the local community in providing amenities such as laundry bags in addition to supporting SMEs.
How many new properties are planned to be set up in the next three years?
We currently have two properties that are owned by Omran. Both are four-star properties. This year, we will take ownership of three more – Duqm City hotel, Ras Al Jinz hotel and Masirah Island resort, which also belong to Omran. We will rebrand the new hotels and will do extension and renovation of the properties. One or two properties will be under Atana and the rest under National Omani Hospitality Company. In the next five years, we want to be well established all over Oman, especially in key cities. We may also have a five-star and three-star hotel. But the core will be centered around four-star.
Besides hotels, we will operate a new restaurant in Salalah, along with retail units. We are also assessing some other hotels within the Omran ownership. Additionally, we are also looking at external investment partners within Oman. In the future, we will explore investment options beyond borders and may engage in other hospitality projects. But the key focus now will be Atana brand.
What about expansion plans outside Oman?
Initially, the brand is being established through rebranding exercises of existing hotels, followed by expansion, both organically and through external investment partners. The initial focus will be in Oman, followed by regional expansion. The company will look at feeder markets such as Western Europe and GCC states. The Government of the Sultanate has planned to bring in 12 million visitors by 2020 as part of promoting destination Oman. As an Omani brand, we too are taking initiatives to promote the destination Oman.