Tourism use Muscat as a base to go

Tourism isa growing industry in the Sultanate of Oman.

Because of this more and morehotels are being built to provide accommodation for the high number of guests.But the decision for a location does not happen without a prior analyzation ofthe environment. This paper aims at analyzing the distribution of hotels andattractions in the Muscat Governorate in the Sultanate of Oman. In the firstpart existing literature concerning the topic of Point Pattern Analysis will bereviewed. In the next paragraph the paper will have a closer look at themethods that were used to analyze the subject. In the following part theresults will be displayed and interpreted. It will conclude with the outcomethat there is a strong relationship between the distribution of the hotels andattractions.  IntroductionIn the lastyears the Sultanate of Oman became a popular destination for many travellers.

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Inthe year of 2017 about 2.5 million tourists arrived in the country and thenumber is expected to grow. By 2027 more than 4 million guests are expected.Compared to all the countries of the world Oman is on rank number 9 when itcomes to the tourism development (WTTC, 2017). Most of the tourism happens inthe Muscat Area, followed by Dhofar and Musandam.

In those areas one will alsofind the highest number of accommodation to meet the need of the rising numberof tourists. In 2016 there were 340 hotels registrated. Nearly 50% of those canbe found in the Governorate of Muscat (National Center for Statistics andInformation, 2018). Muscat as a capital with an international airport attractsmost visitors and those need to be accommodated. The city has further aconvenient location in the country with easy access to the major attractions.That means that guest can use Muscat as a base to go on trips and do not haveto plan an additional overnight stay somewhere in order to see something.

Tourist Attractions like the City of Nizwa, the beautiful coast in direction ofSur, the Wahiba Sands a high number of Wadis can be reached by car in maximumthree hours. But also the Governorate itself has some attractions to offer.Souqs, Museums, Mosques, Beaches…. the number of options is big. Knowing thisone could ask if there is a connection between the location of attractions andhotels in the city.

Helpful toanswer this question are so called Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIShelps to analyze places and destination and provides useful methods to find outabout relations and causes. In a GIS system every map consists of points (e.g.special landmarks), lines (e.g.

streets or rivers) and polygons (e.g. houses,lakes).

The next paragraph will have a closer look at a research method thatcan be used with GIS which is Point Pattern Analysis and a major tool to answerthe previously asked question. Literature ReviewSeveralscholars have written about the various functions of GIS and how it helps withproblem solving and decision making. The use of GIS and spatial analysis isstill relatively new. It started in the early 1960s with studies concerned withsettlement distribution, arrangement of stores in urban areas and distributionof drumlins in glaciated areas.

The reason for this ‘late’ development wassimply the point that the technical development was not advanced enough to beused by a broader public. Only with the commercialization of GIS software itwas easier to analyze data and most important one was now able to visualizedata in maps which was a huge help for every research (Gatrell et al., 1996) But nomatter how complex a problem or research question is, one of the first steps isalways the Spatial Analysis. According to Goodchild (1992) is Spatial Analysisa set of techniques which are intended to support spatial perspective on dataand where the results are dependent on the location of the objects.

Legendreand Fortin (1989) define three different parts of the Spatial Analysis. Thefirst one is called Point Pattern Analysis. It is concerned with thedistribution of physical points or events in space. A point pattern is the setof a location in a defined study region at which events of interest have beenrecorded (Gatrell et al., 1996). A Point Pattern Analysis is intended to answerthe question if the geographic distribution data points are random ordispersed. The second part of Spatial Analysis is the Line Pattern Analysis,which is the study of networks and connections between the points.

The thirdpart is the Surface Pattern Analysis which is about spatially continuousphenomena (Legendre and Fortin, 1989). For this paper the focus will be onPoint Pattern Analysis. Methodology and Data UsedTo analyzethe distribution of hotels and attractions in Muscat it was important to have adetailed listing of all hotels and attractions. The data was provided by theMinistry of Tourism and included the boundaries of the Muscat Governorate andits Wilayats, the hotels and the attractions of Muscat. For the analysis theprogram ArcGIS was used. In thefirst step the general distribution of hotels and attractions was observed andfirst conclusions were drawn. With the help of tools such as the DirectionalDistribution, the Median and the Average Nearest Neighbour the area was furtheranalyzed to verify or falsify the first assumptions. To get a more detailinsight the most important Wilayats of Seeb, Bawshar, Mutrah and Muscat wereindividually studied.

Those Wilayats were used as in the others either no hotelor attraction was present and therefore it was not logical to study a possiblerelationship between both. Finally the results of the single Wilayats werecompared with the whole Governorate.  ResultsThe firsttwo maps show the distribution of hotels and attractions in the Governorate ofMuscat.

Figure 2: Hotels in Muscat Governorate   Figure 1: Attractions in Muscat Governorate            It seemslike that most attractions and hotels are spread along the coastline. Theattractions are more centred in the Wilayat of Mutrah and Bawshar, but stillreach to the very south of Qurayyat. There are not attractions in Al Amrat,which is the only Wilayat without a coastline and in general only a fewattractions can be found further away from the coast. The hotels are morecentred in Bawshar and Seeb but there are not as far spreaded as theattractions as there are no hotels in Quarayyat.

However, there are hotels inAl Amrat which leads to the assumption that the locations of hotels are notcompletely dependent on the location and presence of attractions. SeebThe Wilayatof Seeb is the most northern and biggest one. The following map shows thelocation of all attractions and hotels:           It is clearthat most hotels and locations are close to the coastline.

One can furthermoresee that most hotels are centred around the most attractions. Only oneattraction which is more in the inland is not immediately surrounded by ahotel. The direction distribution of hotels and attractions provides a moredetailed view on the distribution of both:The red and yellow diamonds show the median value of the attraction andhotel layer and are another indicator for a possible relationship of both. Asit can be seen, the diamonds are located very close together and this gives theassumption that there is a connection between the distribution of hotels andattractions.One canfurther see that both are distributed relatively similar along the coastline. Areason for that could be the hotels are often considered attractive when theyare close to the beach. A further explanation provides the knowledge that theSultan Qaboos Highway runs more or less parallel to the coastline.

It would belogical for hotels and attractions to be positioned close to the Highway inorder to minimize travel time and to increase availability. Finally Ihad a look at the Average Nearest Neighbour of hotels and attractions. Thistool provides statement about the probability that objects are placed randomly.The Average Nearest Neighbour for hotels in Seeb shows that those are clusteredand it is very unlikely that this happened by chance.

The same result is shownfor the attractions. Therefore we can conclude that in Seeb a definiterelationship between the location of hotels and attractions exist.    BawsharBawshar islocated south of Seeb. To its main attractions belong several shopping malls,one of it being the Avenues Mall which is the biggest mall in Oman. Figure 5: Hotels andattractions in BowsharOne can seethat even more than in Seeb hotels and attractions are grouped together and locatedclose to the coast. There are no hotels in the hinterland of Bawshar whichleads to the assumption that here we have a definite relationship betweenhotels and attractions.                   The medianof attractions and hotels are again very close to each other and give theimpression that both layers must be connected. The directional distributionconfirms this and shows further that even though the attractions are widerspread, the hotels are completely within the boundary of the attraction.

Thisconfirms the assumption of a strong relationship between both which is furthersupported by the Average Nearest Neighbour Analysis which gives for both datasets the indication that they are clustered. MutrahMutrah isthe commercial center of Muscat Governorate. It is the most densely populatedWilayat in all of Oman and an important destinations for tourists as itcontains the Port Sultan Qaboos (Cruise Tourism) and the Mutrah Souq which isone of the most famous attractions in Oman. Figure 7: Hotels andAttractions in MutrahThe figureshows two areas of distribution in Mutrah. There are several attractions on thewestern part and a few hotels, which are located directly at the coast.

In thiscase the location of the hotels might be less chosen because of the nearbypresence of the attractions but because of the beach, which is one of the mostbeautiful in the city. On the eastern part the relationship between attractionsand hotels is very clear to be seen. The attractions are in a c-like shape andall hotels surround the attractions and follow the shape.            The AverageNearest Neighbour further proves that both data sets are clustered and increasethe impression that there is a relationship between the two of them. However,the directional distribution and the median center of hotels and attractionsgive the assumption that the relationship is not as strong as in the previousdescribed Wilayats. The directional distribution eclipses are not overlappingmuch and the median centres are far apart.

MuscatThe Wilayatof Muscat, or called Muscat Old Town, lies between Mutrah and Qurayyat. Figure 9: Hotels andAttractions MuscatAs it can be seen on the map there are only a few attractions and hotelspresent in this area. All attractions and hotels are located at the coast butthe attractions clearly centred in the north of the Wilayat. On the firstimpression there seems to be no clear relationship between hotels andattractions.          Thedirectional distribution gives no clear indications about the relationship of bothdata sets and also the medians are far apart which supports the fact that thereis no relation between hotels and attractions in this Wilayat. The AverageNearest Neighbour Analysis supports this statement as it states for both datasets that they are random and there is no cluster.  ConclusionAfteranalysing the distribution of hotels and attractions in the different Wilayatsone can say that the distribution definitely not happened by chance. In mostcases hotels and attractions are clustered along the coastline and singlehotels or attractions are rare.

The only exception is the Wilayat Muscat whichshows a random distribution of hotels and attractions. The Wilayats of Al Amraand Qurayyat were excluded from the analysis as they have not sufficient data.The following map shows the directional distribution and the median center ofhotels and attractions in the whole Governorate of Muscat and supports thepreviously mentioned results.Figure 11: Directional Distribution of hotels andattractions in the Muscat GovernorateThedistribution of hotels and attractions is very similar along the coast.

Thedistribution of the hotels is nearly completely within the distribution of theattractions. The attractions stretch further south. This could be because thoseattractions might be of natural cause (e.g. Wadi). One can assume that in thefuture the number of hotels will increase. As there are attractions in Qurayyatbut no hotels it is likely that someone considers this as a market gap andbuilds hotels in this area.

One can further assume that more hotels will bebuild in the hinterland and away from the coast as those spaces are alreadypretty crowded. Hotels that are not located at the beach are furthermore oftencheaper and provide therefore accommodation opportunities for another targetgroup. It would be interesting to repeat a study like this in the future. Thenone could also focus on the type of attraction (e.g. natural, manmade) and thetype of hotel.