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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman unveils four eco-tourism projects for investment
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DIVERSIFIED TOURISM PRODUCT: Suitably designed campsites proposed in Al Kamil, Jabal Al Akhdhar and Taqah, and a luxury wellness hub planned in Duqm


Eager to capitalise on the country’s distinctive natural appeal, Oman’s authorities have identified four promising locations for development into eco-tourism hotspots.


The four locations – a mix of seafront destinations, natural parks and mountaintop campsites – will help reinforce the Sultanate’s diverse tourism appeal and open up the country to year-round eco-tourism as well.


They are part of a portfolio of 90 investment opportunities being promoted by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP) for local and international investment.


The investment initiatives are distributed across eight key sectors – Tourism, Logistics & Food, Fishing, Health, ICT, Mining & Industry, Waste Management, and Education – and key to driving Oman’s economic diversification.


Overseeing the development of three of the four eco-tourism projects is the Environment Authority which has jurisdiction over the Sultanate’s natural parks and reserves.


In the Wilayat of Al Kamil al Wafi in South Al Sharqiyah Governorate, the Authority has earmarked a 10,000 square metre site for the development of a tourism campsite amid a wooded part of the Al Sulayil Natural Park.


The proposed facility will include lodgings for visitors and all other amenities commensurate with an eco-tourism attraction.


At Al Jabal al Ahkdar in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, the Authority has allocated around 1,000 square metres for the establishment of an Ecotourism Centre designed to enable visitors to enjoy the Green Mountain’s stunning and diverse natural outdoors.


The facility is proposed to be designed to cater for, among other activities, mountain walking, bird watching and exploration of the surrounding countryside. Investors can also look at the potential for creating walking paths, while also setting up facilities to support the sale of local crafts, traditional gifts, and photography services.


In the south of the Sultanate, the Authority has set aside around 120,000 sq metres of land for an ecotourism project centring around Khor Taqah Reserve in Dhofar Governorate. The proposed tourism camp will include a visitor centre, facilities for onshore aquatic games, kayakking tours, platforms for public viewing and birdwatching, eateries and gift centres.


Rounding off the initiatives for investment is an ‘Ecotourism, Wellness and Luxury District’ proposed by the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) in the Duqm SEZ.


Set in the tourism cluster overlooking the Arabian Sea in the SEZ, the project aims to add a health and wellness component to Duqm’s varied tourism offerings.


“By combining a broader service offering, such as post-treatment healthcare recovery and a relaxed beachside environment, (the project) can appeal to couples, families and millennials,” said MoCIIP in a brief description of the initiative.


“These segments show a greater interest in health and wellness as an influencer of holiday and leisure destination choices,” it added.


(Picture for illustration only)


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