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Omran eyes Expo 2020 tourists for $1.3bn project

The Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project's first phase will be opened by 2020 to attract visitors of Dubai Expo 2020, a senior official at Omran said

The Mina Sultan Qaboos master development plan was finalised in 2015.
The Mina Sultan Qaboos master development plan was finalised in 2015.

Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) announced it is working to attract Expo 2020 visitors to its Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project. 

Omran's investor relations unit is already in advanced stages of negotiations with a number of private sector entities, state related entities, and investment funds.

The project has attracted interest from Omani and international private sector investors, developers, and the banking community.

Salah Al Ghazali, chief investment officer at Omran, said: "In this era of low interest rates, and low returns on more traditional investments, investors are looking for new markets and avenues to provide healthy and secure sustainable and recurring returns."

Phase one of the project will open by 2020, Al Ghazali said, ahead of Dubai Expo 2020. 

Omran is preparing for the influx of Expo visitors to the region, and its impact on tourism in the country. 

Construction of the project's first phase is due to begin in mid-2016.

Omran will also establish a new company to develop the Mina Sultan Qaboos project, with 51% owned by Omran, and the remaining 49% taken up by pension and investment funds, together with private sector investors.

"Following the recent announcement of the project, we’ve been very heartened by the strong expressions of interest shown by prominent local investors," Al Ghazali continued. 

"By taking a position in the waterfront development, investors clearly understand the attractive and enduring returns on offer with this state backed project.

"Our priority is to offer opportunities to local investors, followed by the regional and international investment community," he added.

The developer said it has also received expressions of interest from leading global hotel operators to manage one of the seven waterfront three-, four-, and five-star hotels at the project, including The Address (Emaar), Mandarin Oriental hotel Group, Hyatt, Viceroy Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Banyan Tree Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Chedi, and Four Seasons.

The Mina Sultan Qaboos master development plan (pictured) was finalised in 2015, with inputs received from private sector investors interested in the project's tourism and hospitality scope. 

 

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