Oman on fast track to develop tourism sector, says Minister

Oman Saturday 20/February/2016 21:31 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman on fast track to develop tourism sector, says Minister

Muscat: By 2020, or the end of the current five-year plan, there will be 20,000 hotel rooms in three to five-star category hotels in Oman and if the tourism sector continues to grow, the Sultanate will achieve this target before 2018, the Tourism Minister said.
“The (Oman Tourism) strategy includes the construction of 50,000 hotel rooms “three-stars and above” during the next 25 years, with permits to build budget hotel rooms, but they will not be listed within the strategy,” Ahmed bin Nasser Al Meherzi, Minister of Tourism, said.
“The Oman Tourism Strategy, which has been implemented since the beginning of 2016 after it was approved by the Council of Ministers, focuses on several objectives, the foremost of which is enhancing domestic tourism, particularly the recreational sector, which the ministry is currently executing,” the minister added.
The minister also pointed out that domestic tourism, its trends and objectives, due to its importance, dominates about 50 per cent by strategy. He added that this requires utilities and installations that meet demand of the Omani tourist who looks for recreational tourism related-installations and services.
Long-term investment
Al Meherzi also pointed out that the total investments expected for this sector during the upcoming years exceeds OMR1 billion. He added that there are projects being implemented, others were issued licenses to be established and other projects are under study.
He further said that among the recreational tourism projects, which were approved, are construction of two water parks in Salalah and another world-class water park that will be established by one of the pension funds at Al Athaiba in the Governorate of Muscat, in addition to a project for Muscat Municipality, in cooperation with one of the investment companies to establish a world-class recreational city in the Wilayat of Al Seeb, a family recreational project in the Wilayat of Al Musannah stretching over 5 million square metres, and a project to set up a zoo.
Al Meherzi added that the Masirah Island will see the implementation of a tourist project that is aimed at enhancing the tourism sector on the island, as it has good tourism potential. He pointed out that two sites had been presented before an investor for the development of a yacht marina, tourist resort and chalets.
He stressed the necessity of operating a commercial airline route to Masirah Island to facilitate travel to the island and activate tourist and econom.