The Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) continues to attract a high level of experienced industry professionals as it prepares for opening in 2016.

OCEC general manager, Trevor McCartney said he was delighted with the quality and standard of the venue’s latest recruits, including the appointment this week of internationally respected industry executive, Gillian Taylor, as the centre’s director of business development.

“This centre is one of the country’s pillar projects and I’m confident that the team we’re presently assembling will contribute to Oman’s economic diversification by attracting some of the world’s most prestigious events to its pristine shores.

“The marketing efforts of venue manager, AEG Ogden over the past two years has positively positioned the Sultanate of Oman as a future emerging convention destination which in turn has contributed to the high level of interest from applicants from both at home and abroad,” Mr McCartney said.

Ms Taylor joins the centre after having worked for the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority for the past eight years. Previously, she served as a board member of the Society of International Travel Executives (SITE) and Australia’s Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Business Events Sydney). Prior to Abu Dhabi, she was general manager for a destination management company in Sydney for more than 10 years.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Sultanate’s vision to position itself as a serious contender for world congresses and major events. Oman has been asked to host so many international conventions that have not been possible before the development of this superb venue and I will work in collaboration with all Omani stakeholders, the Ministry of Tourism, and the academic community to make that dream a reality,” Ms Taylor said.

Other appointments include John Burke (most recently at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha) as director of operations, Salim Al Flaiti as director of human resources, Ahmed Al Habsi as director of finance & administration, and Akram Al Maawali as protocol and liaison manager.

Mr McCartney said further recruitment drives were planned over the next 12 months in the areas of operations, event planning, production, venue presentation and food and beverage.

“We are on track for our target of 60 per cent Omanisation by the end of 2015, therefore ensuring every attendee will experience the Omani traditional hospitality first hand.”