Last weekend, during a short visit to the Wilayat of Suhar, I met an investor at a restaurant who has invested in the Sultanate for more than seven years. During the course of our discussions, we discussed the enormous investment opportunities. Investors have hailed the investment policies and procedures during the previous years to ease the investment in the Sultanate. He also stated that the country now has a very good investment climate.
Discussing about his investment in Oman and other countries, he enquired about the current progress and development now undergoing at Suhar Airport. He revealed that his purpose of the visit was to see the investment opportunities in the promising city. He also highlighted the importance of Suhar Airport after several new airlines have chosen Suhar to be the new destination.
The Suhar Airport and Port, together with Sohar Freezone and the upcoming GCC rail networks and the new express way will further help Suhar to be a hub for investment and commercial activity. The economic city lies in the centre of North Al Batinah Governorate and close to Al Buraimi. Also, it is located near to Al Dhahirah through several exist roads for instance, Suhar-Yanqul and Al Khabourah-Ibri. All of this make, Suhar a good place for investment with its unique geographical location, economic resources and high population density.
He also enquired about the new destination which was opened recently by Al Salam Airlines, Al Arabiya and Qatari Airlines. These three airlines will further link the Sultanate to different countries in the region and as a result the number of visitors to Oman particularly to Al Batinah will increase further. Moreover, the new progress will attract fresh investments to Al Batinah Governorate.
The recent negotiations between the concerned authorities towards attracting charter tourists from Europe to Suhar during the winter season will set a new trend. Also, there are negotiations to bring Russian tourists through a direct flight from Moscow to Suhar. Furthermore, there are also talks with an Iranian airline and very soon we expect something concrete will emerge.
However, the concerned authorities need to accelerate work in the airport for example, to complete the passengers building and the remaining parts at the airport.
Al Batinah North and its close governorates like Al Dhahirah and Al Batinah South governorates have immense tourism, heritage, natural and beautiful beaches throughout the year which will attract more visitors to the country.
During my recent visit to the Kingdom of Morocco, I visited several cities during my eight day stay. The North African country is amazingly beautiful and the cities of Marrakesh, Fes, Casablanca and Rabat are well connected by airports.
Passengers who need to change flights in Suhar need to get short visit visas smoothly. Public committees including walis, Ash’shura and municipal members and shaikhs will have to play an important role to develop the city with its needs since they know better than the other authorities.
Media also can play an important role to promote the city and highlight the city’s tourism and investment opportunities.
At the end the investor enquired: “how many hotels does Suhar have? Are the current 1,000 rooms enough to accommodate the increase in visitors? What is their plan to develop the city?”
I could not however answer his pertinent questions which were apt for any investor.
However, Suhar Airport is expected to support several sectors mainly tourism, industry and logistic services.
In the tourism sector, the airport can accommodate around 250,000 passengers per year. At the logistic services, the airport can deal with 50,000 tonnes each year. Therefore, we see impressive trends emerging for the airport.
BADER AL KIYUMI