Ministry of Tourism makes great strides

Muscat - 

The Ministry of Oman (MoT) has made great strides this year to promote the country abroad as a wedding destination, MICE destination, adventure destination and sports destination. Oman is rich in geography, culture and historical heritage. This reflects on its tourism aspects, which include a diverse variety of attractions.

In an emailed reply to Muscat Daily , MoT said, “It manifests from our participation in major travel trade shows around the world. Apart from this, we are also seeking to exploit the country’s potential as a luxury destination as well as a destination for special interest groups.”

The ministry’s strategic plan is being implemented in three stages: Preparation (2016-20), Growth (2021-30) and Stability (2031-40). In keeping with this strategy, the MoT has identified regions which will be developed in ‘clusters’ to highlight the uniqueness of Oman’s ‘tourism experience’ in the Gulf.

The sultanate has for years been actively promoting its culture, heritage and natural environment, which are assets for adventure tourism. Oman will continue to highlight various areas such as the unique coastal area of Musandam, the Al Hajar Mountains; the Frankincense Trail in Salalah; cosmopolitan culture in Muscat and of course soft adventure in Oman’s deserts. “Each area will offer a blend of accommodation fitting into different kinds of budgets covering culinary experiences, transportation and other unique Omani experiences,” it said.

Tourism infrastructure across Oman is being rapidly enhanced. Right from the new extended Muscat International Airport that will be functional soon to the several five-star resorts opened in 2016, including the Anantara in Jebel Akhdar and Salalah. A refurbished Sheraton has already re-opened in Muscat and construction is under way on Oman’s first W Hotel.

Ithraa has recently published five briefing papers that are designed to connect the world with contemporary Oman and its dynamic business community. Each briefing provides a snapshot of one sector and the ambitious projects and innovative business ideas currently driving that space.

Informative, realistic and easily comprehended, the briefings are intended to inspire business owners, investors and partners at large to consider the significant opportunities these sectors present.

Also, an agreement for Quriyat Tourism Complex project was signed between MoT and Quriyat Development Company. The total estimated budget of the project is RO385mn. It is anticipated that the first phase will be completed by 2021. The complex will cover a total area of 1,282,300sq m.

The project contains three major aspects - tourism, residential and recreation facilities. The tourism facilities will include three hotels - 3, 4 and 5-star - with a total of 750 rooms, and a golf course with nine holes. It will also include 3,000 homes. Additionally, the recreational aspect includes a water park, boulevard walk including a number of restaurants and cafés, cinema halls and a spa. The project will also develop the fishing port and develop a floating dock for marine taxis which will facilitate transport for visitors, as well as all tourism ports to Sur.

In addition to that, Naseem A’Sabah, a 400,000sq m project worth RO400mn, it will be an Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC), which consists of more than 1,200 residential units, five star hotels, retail zones and a yacht club, as well as leisure zones and restaurants. The Naseem A’Sabah project will provide true value that expresses culture, tradition, architecture and the Omani environment.

MoT also signed an agreement with Palm’s Beach Company to develop the RO265mn worth Al Nakheel Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC), which will be located in the waterfront of Barka in South Batinah. The project, which will be spread over about 500,000sq m with the usufruct right, has 833m of waterfront overlooking the Sea of Oman. It is provided with a 35,000sq m man-made crystal lagoon that will be located in the middle of the project to act as a hub for the entertainment activities and the reference point around, which the project’s components will be constructed.

The project includes three (4-5 star) international hotels), villas, townhouses, apartments, serviced apartments, a lagoon promenade and a traditional mixed use souq, a shopping mall, an aqua park and a school. The units will be available for freehold by Omanis and foreigners.

The sultanate’s first snow park, part of the Palm Mall Muscat project, will be a new-generation Alpine winter-themed real snow and ice amusement park. Spread over 5,400sq m, the snow park and the mall are expected to be ready by the third quarter of 2017.

Additionally, Omran launched the US$1.3bn Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project aimed at transforming Port Sultan Qaboos into a major tourism based mixed-use waterfront destination. As per its initial launch in 2015, the project is planned in four phases. The first phase consists of a fisherman’s wharf, fish souq, a five-star marina hotel, a four-star family hotel, residential, destination shopping, restaurants, cafés, boutiques, entertainment and cultural facilities, as well as a superyacht leisure boat marina. It will be completed by 2020.

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