Muriya Tourism Development Co, a joint venture between Swiss-based Orascom Development Holding and Omran, is developing a series of fully integrated tourism complexes (ITCs) encompassing high-end hotels, villas and apartments, leisure facilities such as golf courses, marinas and other supporting infrastructure in the sultanate.
The brand is currently investing in major projects, namely Salalah Beach Resort in Dhofar region, and Jebel Sifah and a boutique hotel on the As Sodah Island.
Muriya’s Jebel Sifah ITC recently launched its 100-berth marina set on the shores of the Gulf of Oman. The marina and the marina town are at the heart of the ITC that Muriya Tourism Development is developing.
In this two-part series on Muriya’s operations, Philip A Jones, senior director of marinas, talks to Muscat Daily about the company's marina operations. The second part - an interview with Bahaa Hefzallah, marketing director at Muriya - will appear tomorrow.
The 100-berth Jebel Sifah marina is now fully operational. What has been the response since its soft opening last year?
We had a good response and have around 20 boats now booked in.
Are there plans for new services at the marina and for expansion of berths in the near future?
We are looking forward to having our Al Maha fuel station up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2013. We are also due to sign a concession to set up and operate a maintenance and service facility in our boat-storage area. We still have berths available, so there is no need for expansion at this stage. We now have a jet-ski concession operating out of the marina which is a very exciting activity.
How do you view the accessibility to Jebel Sifah, the marina town and surrounding beaches? What are your plans to improve this?
We are working to improve access to Sifah with the introduction of a small catamaran fast ferry linking Sifa, Barr al Jissah and Seeb, and linking other coastal projects such as Shangri La and The Wave, Muscat. We hope to launch this service by the end of the first quarter of 2013 and are looking for the support of government ministries. The surrounding beaches are very popular camping spots and we plan to capitalise on this by setting up some permanent camps in Sifah, including a youth camp for school kids.
What progress has been made on the marina and marina town at the Salalah Beach ITC project? What will be the size of the Salalah Beach marina and when are operations likely to start?
The Salalah Beach marina will have 180 berths up to 60m in length. We are looking to soft open the marina early in the first quarter of 2013 and we already have one pontoon fully operational with ten berths for speed boats up to 12m, together with a couple of 50m berths on the main dock. A fuel station, workshop and maintenance facility is planned for the third quarter of 2013.
The Salalah Beach marina will also be able to offer water sports during the monsoon season. Our huge protected waters inside the breakwaters are ideal for this and unique in the region.