SALALAH: The Al-Sawda Island Tourism Project in Dhofar Governorate has resumed construction after a hiatus of several years.
In an exclusive interview to the Observer, Ahmed Ragab, the company's deputy chief executive, confirmed that the project is on track and is scheduled to open in December 2026.
This ambitious project aims to foster sustainable social development on a secluded island, designed to provide unparalleled privacy and exclusivity for each visitor. It will feature luxurious hotel suites approaching seven-star standards, nestled amidst a breathtaking landscape that seamlessly blends natural beauty with refined luxury.
Nestled within the Dhofar Governorate, Al-Sawda Island forms part of the Kuriya Muriya archipelago of five islands, namely (Halaniya, Al-Sawda, Qabila, Gharzooni, and Hasik). It falls under the administrative purview of the Wilayat of Shaleem and Halaniyat Islands.
The coveted concession for the development and revitalization of the island was granted to local developer Muriya, a partnership of Egypt-based Orascom and Omran Group of the Sultanate of Oman. The company envisions transforming the island into a marine tourism haven, featuring a boutique five-star hotel with 32 lavish chalets equipped with private swimming pools and exclusive beachfront access for resort guests. The project will also encompass a range of amenities and services designed to revitalize the island and its neighboring counterparts, fostering a vibrant hub of tourism and recreation.
Characterized by its rugged terrain and scattered sandy beaches, Al-Sawda Island offers breathtaking vistas of the Indian Ocean, creating an idyllic setting for a luxurious tourist retreat. To reach this enchanting destination, visitors can embark on a scenic boat journey or utilize the island's well-equipped port facilities.
The project comprises 57 villa suites, along with a selection of captivating restaurants and lounges, a diving center, and comprehensive hotel facilities. It is committed to providing world-class services and amenities while adhering to the principles of environmental sustainability.
Eng Ahmed Ragab elaborated on the challenges faced by the company in executing the project. He stated, "The project's remote location, situated 220 kilometers east of Salalah and 60 kilometers from the coast of Hasik, necessitates the establishment of logistical hubs to facilitate the transportation of raw materials between the site and the surrounding areas."
Furthermore, he acknowledged the difficulties associated with stabilizing the workforce on-site and ensuring their living needs, particularly given the presence of approximately 400 workers currently involved in the project.
He emphasized that the island's unique status as a sanctuary for the environment and wildlife demands the adoption of environmentally friendly construction materials and practices to minimize human intervention and preserve the delicate ecosystem.
Additionally, he highlighted the seasonal limitations posed by the rough seas during the autumn period, which restrict construction activities to eight months of the year, potentially hindering the timely delivery of essential materials.
Despite these challenges, Engineer Ahmed Ragab expressed optimism regarding the project's economic benefits for the region. He stated, "The project's grand scale is poised to stimulate economic activity and trade within the governorates of Dhofar, fostering a vibrant and prosperous business environment."
He further elaborated on the project's role in empowering small and medium-sized enterprises, which serve as the bedrock of Oman's economic development. He affirmed the company's unwavering commitment to supporting Omani women, who play a pivotal role in managing local businesses alongside their fellow Omani women. He expressed pride in the longstanding partnership with Omani women in the construction and logistics sectors, acknowledging their invaluable contributions.