For the people living in the Yeresa region of the Wilayat of Bidiyah in Sharqiya Governorate south, the long stretch of desert sand is both their friend and their burden. It is their friend because it allows them the peaceful living they want but it is a burden because the desert poses a lot of challenge not only for development but also for day to day living. But that is about to change. The Desert Palms Resort is one of the promising projects implemented by the Ministry of Tourism taking shape and rising in the area. What was once a neglected piece of sandy property is being converted into a travel destination.
This falls under one of the goals of the Ministry to enhance the tourism industry of the Sultanate by converting unused yet potentially viable landscapes into income-generating touristic spot. This means putting up facilities and infrastructures, providing needed human and industry services to meet the standards of travelers coming from all over the world.
So far, 70% of the project is completed and developers are hoping that the project will be operational by December 2017.
The resort is designed to look like a palm tree — a trunk and its branches sprawled in the desert sand. It is expected to attract Omanis as well foreign tourists, offering them exceptional service in the middle of the desert.
Earlier this year, the Ministry has declared to establish hotel projects in the Sultanate, along with supporting investment opportunities through electronic services. The number of hotel establishments in Oman already reached 352 hotel establishments by the first of June.
Despite this number, people within different sectors still feel that there are not enough rooms to cater to the growing number of travelers coming to Oman.
By the end of 2016, it was determined that the Sultanate currently have a total of 18,825 rooms distributed all throughout the country. These are through different structures, from hotels, to resorts, to hotel apartments, tourists’ camps, rest and guest houses, heritage and even green hotels.
The Desert Palms Resort will be a welcome addition to its already diverse offering.
Regarding future planning, the Ministry announced 17 integrated tourism areas with comfort stations, which are expected to boost the tourism infrastructure services across the Sultanate.
The comfort stations are planned to be located near main roads and serve tourists who would like to explore Oman by road, as well as regular commuters.
They will incorporate petrol stations, two or three-star hotels with the main building hosting restaurants, rest area, market, play area for children and tourism information centre besides prayer rooms for men and women. The area will also include sufficient parking for light and heavy vehicles. There will also be shelters, including car wash and workshops. An interesting feature is pathways for pedestrians.
Zainab al Nassri