Muscat – Environment Authority (EA) is currently working on nine new nature reserves to support ecotourism in the sultanate and the national income.
Nature reserves in Oman are a major tourist attraction, offering scenic nature, camping and diving facilities to enjoy coral reefs and other underwater treasures.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Salim Nasir al Rubaie, Director of Nature Reserves at EA, said, “The authority has prepared a plan to register nine new nature reserves in Oman. The sites will be subject to evaluation by the concerned authorities and will be announced soon.”
He added, “The authority seeks to conduct scientific studies and provide tourism and entertainment facilities for guests inside nature reserves. We have 26 nature reserves so far, through which we aim to preserve our biological diversity and promote the sultanate in the world of ecotourism.”
About EA’s efforts for investments in reserves, Rubaie informed that the authority is working on offering unique opportunities in nature reserves for companies, competent institutions and investors wishing to invest and manage environmental projects while ensuring the safety of reserves.
He explained that the authority follows strict procedures before offering reserves for investment, based on nature of activity, including tourism and scientific.
EA has created a guideline for investment opportunities. Competing tenders for investment opportunities are thoroughly evaluated by the authority’s specialists representing various departments.
Its plans aim to improve, preserve and capitalise on Oman’s eco-tourism offerings, while simultaneously ensuring long-term sustainable growth of the tourism sector as it plays a vital role in boosting the sultanate’s economy.
In 2023, the authority announced four investment opportunities in Khor al Qurm al Kabeer Reserve, Khor Taqah Reserve, Khor al Mughassil and Al Wusta Wetland Reserve.
Rubaie added that balancing development and urbanisation with preservation of nature reserves is one of the biggest challenges the authority faces.
Asked about forthcoming projects, he said, “Currently, only Al Baleed Archaeological Park with its monuments dating back to the Middle Ages is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The authority is working to nominate other sites that meet the conditions for inclusion in UNESCO lists.”