MAY 28, 2023

Oman to have 33,000 hotel rooms by end-2025

MUSCAT: The Director of the Oman Vision 2040 Office at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) emphasized that the heritage and tourism sectors in the Sultanate of Oman achieved high rates in their annual plans, which are consistent with Oman Vision 2040 objectives, while the volume of the planned and ongoing investments till the year of 2025 amounted to RO 2.7 billion, including RO 2.3 billion which are classified as confirmed investments.

Dr Rashid bin Saleh al Hinai, Director of Oman Vision 2040 Office at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, said that during Q1 2023, many indicators and targets of the heritage and tourism sectors were approved. These include targeting the value of investments in the sector to reach RO 3 billion for 2021-2025, raising the number of hotel rooms to be not less than 33,000 by end-2025 and to raise the value of tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) to RO 920 million by 2025 to represent 2.75% to 3% of GDP.

The contribution percentage of the tourism sector to the GDP, at constant prices in 2021 reached 2.4%, according to the statistical data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

MHT, in cooperation with The National Program for Investment and Exports Development (Nazdaher) prepared the investment programme and was completed during this quarter.

The investment programme includes more than 440 diversified investment projects, as the volume of investments in the implemented and planned projects for the period of 2021-2025 amounted to about RO 2.7 billion, of which RO 2.3 billion are confirmed investments.

In accordance with this programme, MHT periodically follows up the projects based on their relative importance and on the size of investment , placing more focus on projects that cost RO 5 million or more, as well as focusing on projects that support the local tourism.

Among the most important investments that are being monitored are the investments related to the integrated tourism complexes, as the value of the planned investments for the period 2021-2025 amounted to about RO 1.5 billion. One of the most prominent integrated tourism complex agreements that were signed during this year is the agreement to develop the Mandarin Oriental Project in Muscat.

In order to support the achievement of the targeted investment for 2025, MHT also issues approvals for private projects, based on submission of feasibility study, where 10 new approvals were granted during Q1 2023.

Meanwhile, the number of hotel rooms in the country till end of Q1 2023 reached 30,559 rooms.

As for the new projects on the lands belonging to MHT, the targeted plan for 2023 is to sign 25 usufruct contracts through a direct contracting system and to offer a number of investment opportunities to compete for it among private sector companies.

The main requirements of the Ministry is the availability of financial capacity with the investors, employment plans, local content of the projects and entertainment and tourism components of the projects, in accordance with the nature of each project and its contribution to support the strategic direction of MHT and the acceleration of the implementation of projects.

For SMEs, Al Hinai clarified the MHT pays great attention to this category and work is underway to allocate a number of investment opportunities for SMEs , which will be presented in packages of opportunities during the coming period.

He stressed that the MHT has adopted a local policy while all contracts costing less than RO 10,000 are awarded to small and medium enterprises.

Dr Al Hinai also clarified the total government revenues from the tourism sector by the end of 2021 reached RO 3.8 million, compared to RO 12.4 million by the end of 2022, with a growth rate of 227% between 2021 and 2022, while the annual growth rate targeted to be achieved is not less than 5%.

He pointed out the decrease in the revenues during 2021 is attributed to the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, but due to the exemptions obtained by investors in the sector, and to the improvement of the situation in the tourism sector and also due to the flowing of more investments in the sector and as a result of financial collection efficiency by the ministry, a high growth rate has been achieved in the total government revenues from the tourism sector in the year of 2022.

On the index of preserving heritage and culture, Dr Rashid bin Saleh al Hinai said that the Sultanate of Oman is currently preparing a file to include the archaeological site of Bisya and Salut in the World Heritage List.

The target year in 2025 2025 is to enable the private sector and the civil companies to invest in 25 historical monuments. It should be noted that the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism was able to sign a 12 investment contracts up to date, the most recent of which was the Bahla Fort investment contract.sdfs

Source: Oman Observer