Muscat, Oman, the capital city, was my first stop in this engaging part of the world. With a brand new, award winning, International airport, I was about to embark on a vacation that would excite and mesmerize any tourist. With first class tourism projects and modern infrastructure developments ongoing, Oman’s Ministry of Tourism is making significant efforts to enhance the country’s offerings in the sector while emphasizing sustainable development.
As a signatory to the United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable tourism development, Oman has adopted several measures to enhance tourism facilities in a sustainable manner.
The new airport has nearly doubled passenger capacity to 12 million per year and is expected to boost the country’s tourism and hospitality sector, while also opening new development opportunities for land parcels around Muscat.
“ OMAN’S TOURISM IS FORECAST TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE COUNTRY’S GDP BY 6 PERCENT ”
The MoT has signed agreements with international companies to boost sustainable and leisure tourism projects in the Sultanate. One of note is the Sultanate’s first snow park, part of the Palm Mall Muscat project, would be a new-generation Alpine winter-themed real snow and ice amusement park. Spread over 5,400 sqm, the snow park and the mall are expected to be ready this year. An 8,000 square metre aquarium within the facility will have 55 exhibit tanks. Thirty thousand marine animals, from small shrimps to large sharks, will find a home in the new Oman Aquarium in Palm Mall, Seeb, which is set to open later this year.
Additionally, the Oman Tourism Development Company has launched the $1.3 billion (Dh4.77 billion) Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project aimed at transforming Port Sultan Qaboos into a major tourism base.
The first of the mall’s four phases comprises a fisherman’s wharf, fish souq, a five-star marina hotel, a four-star family hotel, residential facilities, destination shopping, restaurants, cafés, boutiques, entertainment and cultural facilities, along with a super yacht and leisure boat marina. This will be completed by 2020.
Another upcoming project is the Qurayat Tourism Complex, of which the first phase will cover a total area of 1,282,300 sqm, will be launched by 2021.
Oman’s tourism is forecast to contribute to the country’s GDP by 6 percent over the next two decades, according to UN figures.
“With over 1.2 billion people now crossing international borders each year, tourism represents an opportunity to break down barriers of ignorance and prejudice. It plays an important role as a vehicle for inter-cultural dialogue and, ultimately, peace,” said Francesco Bandarin, Unesco Assistant Director-General on Culture on his recent visit to the Sultanate.
“Unesco and UNWTO are also united in our commitment to tackling the challenges of poverty and development through sustainable tourism,” Bandarin concluded To book your VIP experience, reach out to Malik at Magic Arabia at Malik@magic-arabia.com
CNN has listed Oman as one of the top destinations to visit in 2019.