AGORACOM Client Feature
By Homoud al Mahrazi -
The Ministry of Tourism has received more than 500 applications for tourism projects and some of them have excellent feasibility studies and are expected to be successful and highly profitable when implemented.
“We want to give chance for those who are willing to establish tourism projects provided they present thorough studies. Applicants should have good knowledge in the tourism field,” said Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah al Khalili, Minister of Tourism.
Talking to Oman Arabic daily, sister publication of the Observer, he said that the ministry has started a new approach for granting land to those who apply for tourism projects whereby the projects are floated for competition, and the approval will be given to the best offers in terms of technicalities.
The method of open competition stems from the ministry’s keenness to apply transparency and the principle of fairness, and to guarantee success of the projects.
The ministry will open competition for land usufruct to establishing tourism projects in Ibri, Masiral, Mudhaibi and Sur, the minister added. The selection of Muscat as a capital for Arab tourism is a recognition of the city’s importance in the tourism sector. The ministry has set up a team to study the details and preparations for the event. Actual preparations are set to start before the end of this year.
“We endeavour to extend the tourists stay in the country to more than two nights, we can achieve this through various tourist and entertainment projects.
“I am hopeful that the coming period will see the tourism sector achieve further development especially with the increase of tourism allocations in the current Five-Year Development Plan (2011-2015) to RO 105 million, in addition to the government contribution to integrated tourism complexes,” he added.
The total value-added for the tourism sector (hotels and restaurants) during the first quarter of this year has reached RO 49.2 million, compared with RO 47 million in the corresponding period of last year.
The minister said that they are striving to develop the tourism sector through the tourism development plans. The 8th Plan emphasises on sustainable and balanced development for the tourism sector.
The plan aims to achieve a minimum of 7 per cent annual growth rate, as well as upgrade the internal tourism.
Among the ministry’s goals are the diversification of tourism products and the incorporation of local communities in the tourism development.
The government of the Sultanate of Oman is committed to applying the standards of sustainable tourism with the objective of protecting the environment and preserving the natural resources and the Omani cultural identity.
Our strive to implement the objectives of the 8th Plan will lead to the desired advancement in the tourism industry to the benefit of the national economy, this trend will also provide a plethora of job opportunity for the unemployed, he added.
The minister said that the Royal directive to transform the Port Sultan Qaboos to a fully-fledged tourism port, emanates from His Majesty the Sultan’s keenness to develop the tourism sector and to foster the tourism infrastructure.
Co-operation is under way between the Tourism Ministry and the public and the private sectors to prepare the general framework of services and amenities to be set up in the project so that the new tourist port will be able to offer integrated tourist services.
Al Khalili added that an approximately RO 105 million has been earmarked to the tourism sector in the 8th 5-year development plan, in addition to the government contribution to the integrated tourism complexes.
Among the most important projects in the next period are; maintenance work and establishment of a health club and villas in the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, as well establishment of tourist service amenities in various locations, establishment of a tourism resort in Masirah, development word of Majlis Al Jinn Cave, and the establishment of tourist service amenities in Al Wusta Region.
Speaking about the dispute between the investors and the developers of Salalah Beach Resort, the minister said there is a direct relationship between the company and the buyers of the units, so it is better for the ministry not to interfere at this time.
“There are certain mechanisms for settle such disputes as per the purchase contracts. As far as I know there are no such problems in other projects.
“We are fully aware of the scale of competition in the tourism industry in the region, hence we are focusing on the fields that enhances our competitiveness such as the continuous improvement and diversification of the quality of our tourist services via introducing new styles capable of catering to the needs of a wide segment of tourists, intensifying our promotion campaigns, opening up new markets in the emerging countries, and fostering co-operation with national carrier — Oman Air — so as to draw large numbers of tourists, the minster said.
Orignally published on Fri. January 13th, 2012
Link to article: http://main.omanobserver.om/node/79131
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