The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has initiated the first step in developing/ managing a geo-tourism project in the rock garden in Duqm. The ministry, in conjunction with the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZAD), has invited the Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential investors for developing it.
Investors can submit the same before January 15, 2018.
This will be the first-of-its-kind model in the Sultanate to deal with nature-related activities in protected areas, said the ministry statement.
Duqm rock garden is one of the rare natural touristic destinations located in Wusta.
The 3-km square rock garden is a unique area of geological importance which is characterised by formations and stunning rock sculptures of limestone rocks carved from water and wind over millions of years.
As part of the efforts to develop natural tourism in Oman, the ministry seeks to invite investors to present a ‘management model’, which would be agreed upon at a later stage.
According to the conditions, the application should have an action plan on how to develop and manage geo-tourism at the rock garden, which will offer unique experiences to the visitors.
The investor should provide details of previous experience in delivering and operating high quality geo-tourism projects in protected areas or establishment of geo-parks.
A strategy to finance to support implementation and operation of the geo-tourism development and a plan to support/ engage the local community through the creation of local products should also be presented.
The discovery was made in 2009 by an exploratory mission of Earth Secrets Company (ESC), a local geological consultancy firm, in coordination with World Habitat Society (WHS), a German society that deals with sustainable tourism and eco services.
The site is now internationally acknowledged as one of the world’s rare natural rock gardens.
It is one of the top-25 sites of geological and scientific importance in the Sultanate.
The garden has become a source of attraction for tourists, researchers and specialists in the field because of its unique and distinctive rock formations.
The garden has been the focus of SEZAD of late as it plans to turn it into a tourist attraction and a magnet for different investments.
Hence, it recently fenced the garden to prevent any damage to it.
Zainab al Nassri