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Oman tourism ministry transfers five projects to Omran

Five projects have been transferred under the first stage of the agreement, with EOI tenders likely by the end of Q1 2018

Five projects have been transferred from Oman's tourism ministry to Omran [representational image].
Five projects have been transferred from Oman's tourism ministry to Omran [representational image].

A contract has been signed between Oman's Ministry of Tourism and Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) to streamline the legislative and implementation aspects of the sultanate's tourism sector. 

Maitha'a bint Saif al-Mahrouqiyah, Undersecretary of Oman's Ministry of Tourism and Peter Walichnowski, chief executive officer of Omran, signed the agreement.

READ: Oman lures investors with national construction strategy

Abdullah bin Salim al-Hajri, assistant director-general for administrative affairs at the ministry, said that the agreement is part of a system aimed at separating the legislative and executive aspects of Oman's tourism sector.

Accordingly, the tourism ministry would be tasked with developing legislation to regulate the sultanate's tourism sector, while Omran would implement the tourism projects. 

READ: Oman's $96m Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC hotel opens

The development of these projects will begin in 2018, it has been revealed.

"The tenders for expression of interest (EOI) for companies that have been qualified may be floated by the end of [Q1] 2018," state news agency, ONA, reported.

"The bids will be then evaluated and agreements will be signed for the management and operation of these projects." 

The contract's first stage included the transfer of five projects from the ministry to Omran.

Al-Hajri said that the five projects transferred to Omran included Al Hoota Cave and Al Uwaifiyah Rest Area in A'Dakhiliyah, Scientific Center in Ras Al Jinz, Al Ashkharah Rest Area in South A'Sharqiyah, and Salalah Rest Area in Dhofar.

READ: Avani to debut in Oman as part of $50m investment project

Eng Khalid bin Mohammed al-Ajmi, director of projects and business development at Omran, said that the company would develop projects in line with the transfer and operation agreements, and involve small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) for their operation  and management periods.

Omran would also seek to offer select project assets for private-sector investment with the aim of activating sustainable tourism development in the project's governorate. 

READ: Oman awards $68m worth of tenders for 15 projects

The agreement, which took effect on 1 January, 2018, marked the first package of the projects that would be transferred to Omran, with the second set due to include castles and forts. 

The transfer of Nizwa Castle to Omran has been already initiated in coordination between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

According to al-Hajri, the transfer of assets to Omran would boost the value of its local market operation, and allow it to engage with local and foreign tourism investors. 

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