Eco tourism in natural reserves receives boost

MUSCAT: The Sultanate is characterised by number of wonderful environmental sites that have been declared as nature reserves. The government has made outstanding efforts to develop them and create an environment conducive to the growth and reproduction of wildlife, notably the Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve, Dimaniyat Islands Reserve, Samhan Reserve and Al Akhwar Reserves.
These reserves form the cornerstone in the eco-tourism in the Sultanate, with its unique natural resources, attractive ecological diversity, and keen care for wildlife and marine life.
The Ministry of Tourism, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, announced in October about two requests to companies, institutions and investors wishing to invest in the development and management of eco-tourism in the natural reserves of Al Saleel in the Governorate of South Al Sharqiyah and Al Qurum in the Governorate of Muscat in order to implement the concept of sustainability in all its environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects.
Zahir bin Hamad al Riyami, Director-General of Tourism Development, Ministry of Tourism, said the Sultanate aims at developing natural tourism in natural reserves to manage natural and cultural resources so that the activities to be implemented in the reserve will be in line with the beneficiaries, local residents and visitors to the protected areas, including tourists and students. This is in addition to promoting participation of stakeholders in the development process and the application of international, regional and national policies adopted for sustainable practices, particularly in the conservation and protection of biodiversity in protected areas in general.
He said in a statement to ONA that the projects of developing eco-tourism in the Sultanate focused on encouraging the conscious tourism activity to enjoy the natural areas and cultural heritage associated with them and emphasising importance of preserving the components of the environment and biodiversity and the need to support local population.
He added that it is important that the activities of environmental tourism in the natural reserves should integrate with various tourism investment sectors in terms of organising, planning, tourism promotion and competitions to provide elements of sustainability within and outside the reserves. — ONA