Bright future awaits Musandam’s tourism sector

Royal Directives waiving some taxes and fees on tourism related investments in Musandam Governorate promise to spur the economic and tourism development of this potentially promising part of the Sultanate.
In recent years, Musandam has witnessed the establishment of a number of large tourism projects — a trend that is expected to gain new momentum following the issuance of these directives.
Musandam Governorate enjoys a distinct advantage. It overlooks one of the world’s most important maritime straits, the Strait of Hormuz, which is geographically located between the Sultanate and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Through this narrow natural channel, a sizable portion of crude oil from the Gulf and Iran flows to the industrial world carried by giant tankers operating day and night in the shipping, transmission and export of energy to the world.
The strategic location of Musandam Governorate requires everyone to redouble their efforts, particularly from the institutions concerned, to implement the development strategy of this governorate, which started in 2016. It needs to serve its residents as a result of its proximity to neighbouring markets.
The Royal Directives by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, issued during the recent Council of Ministers’ meeting, are designed to give more attention and enable investors and businessmen to implement projects and initiatives in a timely manner, without a hindrance from bureaucratic hurdles.
In line with these directives, certain types of goods will be exempt from customs duties. These include materials, tools and equipment required by any tourism project during the construction period.
These investments are also exempt from tourism fees of 4 per cent, and municipal fees of 5 per cent, for a period of 10 years starting from the actual operation of the project.
The directives also provide for exemption of corporate income tax of 15 per cent for 10 years starting from the actual operation of the project. These waivers came into force from June 1, 2019.
These directives have been praised by Omani businessmen, companies and institutions. The board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry praised the Royal Directives to promote tourism in the governorate, stressing the measure will enhance the overall development picture in that area. Furthermore, it will strengthen economic development and investment inflows in the Sultanate, and enhance private sector investment in all geographical parts of the country.
This step will enhance the role of tourism in the diversification of income sources, and the achievement of the national programme of economic diversification and support the achievements of the objectives set out in the Oman Vision 2040 blueprint.
Besides driving economic diversification at the local level, this waivers will support sustainable economic development in the governorate, which has a rich natural, geological and cultural heritage.
The government has repeatedly stressed the importance of creating a conducive business environment to help attract domestic and foreign investment into the country to create and move forward the implementation of projects of strategic significance to the overall development of the country.
The new directives will also open new markets for Omani products, while enhancing the role of tourism in driving economic growth in the Governorate in the coming years.