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EA opens nature reserves for investment

19 Dec 2021 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Environment Authority (EA) is offering three nature reserves for investment with the objective of attracting tourists and supporting eco-tourism projects.

Offering scenic nature, camping facilities and diving sites to enjoy coral reefs and other underwater treasures, nature reserves in Oman are a major tourist attraction.

An EA official said, “As part of its efforts to support the national economy and benefit from nature reserves, the authority has offered a tender for investment in three reserves.”

The three reserves opened for investment are Khor al Dhariz, Khor al Qurm al Kabeer Reserve and Khor Sawli Reserve in the wilayat of Salalah, Dhofar. The authority has called on those interested in investing to submit an action plan for the development of the three reserves.

“The investor’s plan must comply with the rules of the Environment Authority and the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. The plan must include details of how the project will be managed, how visitors will be attracted to the three reserves, and credential documents of the investor.”

The EA official informed that the deadline for submission of bids is January 26, 2022.

Regarding EA’s efforts to develop reserves, he said the authority is conducting studies on how best to provide tourism and entertainment facilities for guests inside nature reserves. “We have over 20 nature reserves through which we aim to preserve biological diversity and promote the sultanate in the world of ecotourism.”

Last month, EA announced a plan to develop a wetland reserve in the wilayat of Mahut, Al Wusta. It aims to achieve environmental sustainability and attract investments for tourism in the reserve through a development plan, which is expected to be completed in 2022.

Earlier in August, EA announced a proposal to convert Umm A’Tair Island into a nature reserve and name it Musandam National Park.

“Efforts are on to support eco-tourism in the sultanate’s nature reserves in a sustainable manner,” the EA official said.

A total of 359, 225 people visited Oman’s nature reserves in 2019, compared to 305,405 at the end of 2018, marking an increase of 15 per cent, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information.

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