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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Heritage inns, green lodges among 70 new hotels to launch in Oman this year

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STRONG MOMENTUM: Move to explore tourism investment in areas of a ‘special nature’


As many as 70 new hotels are slated to open at various locations around the Sultanate of Oman during 2022, according to a key official of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism.


Haitham bin Mohammed al Ghassani, Director General of Tourism Promotion, made the announcement in a recent interview to Travel & Tourism News Middle East (TTN).


The tourism-centric news outlet quoted the official as saying that the new properties are distributed across various classification levels. They will add to an existing capacity of over 4,500 hotel rooms offered as part of resorts, hotels, camps and hotel apartments, he said.


Nineteen of the new properties will come up in Muscat Governorate alone, adding to more than 3,000 hotel rooms currently available in the capital city, he said.


Some of the new hotels are part of larger integrated tourism complexes (ITCs) under various stages of development in Muscat and other parts of the country. Notable is the Sustainable City at Yiti and Rawasi project, while a number of new tourism initiatives are envisioned along the picturesque waterfront of the Wilayat of Muttrah.


Importantly, the new portfolio of properties will include heritage inns and green lodges – part of an effort by the Ministry to offer a ‘distinctive and unique’ experience to visitors, as well as distinguish Oman’s overall tourist product from that of other countries in the region. This diversity will also add to Oman’s appeal as a tourist destination, Al Ghassani noted in the interview.


Also in conjunction with this effort, a number of historical, archaeological and heritage attractions are being suitably developed with the support of the private sector to help broaden the country’s tourism appeal, he said.


“The Ministry also seeks to invest in the heritage sector by concluding agreements in the management and operation of some archaeological sites of historical value, such as castles and forts, after they are maintained and prepared. This will add a unique experience for the tourist to familiarise with historical knowledge and link with the most important tourist attractions surrounding the landmark and highlight the area historically and touristic ally as Nizwa Castle Rustaq and Jibreen Fort in Bahla Province,” TTN quoted the official as stating.


Additionally, the Ministry has initiated efforts aimed at optimising the tourism development potential of some of Oman’s signature natural attractions, notable the Al Sharqiyah Sands in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate. Studies envisioned in this regard will seek to ascertain the importance of a regulatory regime that would balance tourism-related investment inflows with the scrupulous management of such areas of a special nature, he said.


Also in its sights is Wadi Shab, a spectacular canyon located just outside Muscat. The goal is to explore the potential for private-led investment in an integrated combination of tourist facilities and real estate components, similar to ITC ventures developed in other parts of the country.


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