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OM23_TO_OCEC_Said Al Shanfari

OMAN - Tourism

Said Al Shanfari

CEO, Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC)

Bio

Said Al Shanfari has a wealth of experience working in various leadership roles in marketing and communications across Oman and the wider region. His professional experience includes various management positions during his eight-year tenure in Ooredoo Oman, including director of business marketing. More recently, he held the role of general manager of marketing communication and performance at Omantel. Al Shanfari successfully completed Oman’s National CEO Program in 2017. In 2019, he was selected as one of the Top 100 Most Influential CEOs in Oman. He holds an MBA from the University of Hull, in the UK, and double bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the US in computer management and information systems, as well as in business administration and international business.

"OCEC is one finest events venues in the Middle East, perhaps even in the world. What sets OCEC apart from other conference and events venues is its sheer versatility."
OCEC is working to promote Oman as a hub for regional and international conferences and exhibitions, as well as a venue for live events and to showcase the natural beauty and rich culture of the Sultanate.
What is OCEC’s unique value that sets it apart from the competition?

OCEC is one finest events venues in the Middle East, perhaps even in the world. What sets OCEC apart from other conference and events venues is its sheer versatility. A critical aspect of this versatility is the abundance of size and space the venue enjoys; size is not yet an issue in Oman, and what we have at OCEC is a combined multi-purpose venue that can host events as small as a simple corporate event all the way to large festivals and mega events. The moment you walk into the venue, the unique design evokes a definite feeling of spaciousness, peacefulness, and good energy. All the materials used in OCEC’s construction were sourced locally and inspired by traditional Omani design, from the beautiful marble used around the building’s interior and exterior, to the iconic “Sultan Flower” design that graces the top of the Madinat Irfan theatre. Furthermore, the gardens surrounding the building serve to create an inspiring atmosphere for all kinds of business and social events.

How is the OCEC embedding sustainability and green practices into its operations?

The OCEC is a proud United States Green Building Council LEED Gold Certified venue. In terms of sustainability and green practices in our day-to-day operations, we are currently using a substantial amount of alternative energy for the venue’s air circulation, water supply systems, and heating requirements, among other requirements. Furthermore, we are excited to be implementing a solar project that is set to reduce the venue’s total energy expenses to 30% of our current level. This project is currently in the regulatory approval phase. Meanwhile, our sustainability initiatives also encompass waste and food waste management, which we transform into fertilizer. And through OCEC’s successful road to recovery following the outbreak of the pandemic, we look forward to tackling our plastic recycling in light of the government’s goal to achieve a zero-carbon footprint by 2040. This is particularly important for us, because it indicates the government and OCEC’s shared vision for a sustainable future. For OCEC, the concept of sustainability also extends to people and cultures from all over Oman, and all over the world. In this sense, we are a “Palace for the People” and a “Rejuvenating Spa” that welcomes and celebrates cultures and communities into the heart of Oman.

Where would you like to see the OCEC and the events industry in Oman over the coming years?

The events sector needs to be considered holistically in terms of its full range of components. We are an enabler for generating revenue for other projects; this is to say that, while we are indeed a profit-focused enterprise, much of our work also involves creating income generating opportunities for other industries in Oman. For example, if one of the OCEC’s on-site hotels is fully booked due to a large event taking place at our venue, there is a knock-on business effect for restaurants, taxi drivers, tour guides and so on in the area. This is the ecosystem we plan to engage with over the coming five years. Furthermore, I like to work closely with all related entities to educate them about the importance of our venue and the events industry in Oman. Bringing in bigger events will further assist us in providing a sustainable experience of operational excellence. I envision OCEC becoming an exemplar for stadiums or other venues in their growth trajectories.

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