Tourism development budget under Oman’s COVID-19 recovery plan ready
Muscat: As part of Oman’s plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a budget has been established to allocate funds for the development of a number of tourist sites in cooperation with local governing bodies.
Oman’s Minister of Tourism, Salim bin Mohammed bin Said Al-Mahrouqi, added that these plans include the provision of integrated services at 10 beaches in different governorates, while also prioritizing a number of service projects in Dhofar Governorate. “The next two years will see big differences and major additions to Oman’s tourism sector,” he said. “As part of the recovery plan after the coronavirus pandemic, there is an approved budget for the development of a number of tourist sites.
“There is a deficit and a big difference between what Omani tourists spend inside the country and what they spend abroad,” the minister said. “It is estimated that around OMR 700 million is spent outside the country by Omani tourists. “It is our responsibility to reduce this deficit through the establishment of entertainment projects that attract Omani tourists,” he added.
“Infrastructure is complete in most of the tourist spots in the Sultanate, except for some areas that need more attention to create wider tourism development in their next stage of planning. We also need to render basic services available in all authorized castles and forts in the country.”
Three key recreational tourism related projects are under development: Al Sharq in the Blue City, which is expected to open in 2024 and will have all the main ingredients for recreational tourism, while work is also expected to start soon on the project Nakhil Resort, as well as another in Wilayat Quriyat.
“We welcome all initiatives and ideas aimed at establishing recreational tourism projects in the Sultanate and are working to prepare support programs for small and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism sector by offering numerous financing programs, incentives and legislative procedures. in terms of interest rates and exemptions, which we believe are important to move these projects forward,” added the Minister.
As part of heritage tourism efforts, 85 castles and forts have been restored and are ready for tourism investors.
“We invite people to take the initiative to invest in them, because these are very remunerative areas: their profits are quickly generated and the costs of running these facilities are not exorbitant,” explained Al Mahrouqi. “The ministry will also provide funding programs for these projects. We have already seen successes of this nature at Nizwa Fort and Jibreen Castle.
The Ministry of Tourism will also soon launch tenders for the management and operation of tourist sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List such as Qalhat and Bat, under which investors will be required to provide base and guide visitors.