Omran — the state-owned tourism investment, development and management group — plans to offer part of its expanding portfolio of hospitality assets for private investment in line with the Omani government’s broader privatisation strategy.
The move, although still in the preliminary stages, will allow for the private sector to acquire some of these state-owned assets, thereby generating funds that the government could use to invest in other strategic initiatives, according to Peter Walichnowski (pictured), CEO — Omran Group.
The official made the announcement in a presentation at a seminar on ‘Transport and Tourism’, organised by Modern College of Business & Science (MCBS) at Muscat InterContinental Hotel yesterday. Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information, was the Guest of Honour at the event.
Presenting on Omran’s role in the development of tourism infrastructure in the Sultanate, Walichknowski said the Group currently has a number of hotel properties, offering a capacity of around 1,000-plus keys, in the pipeline for development at key locations around the Sultanate.
This is in addition to a portfolio of nine Omran-owned properties operated by international hotel brands and a further nine 2- and 3-star properties operated under the Group’s home-grown brand ‘Atana’. All 18 latter properties offer an aggregate room capacity of around 2,400 keys, he said.
Also as part of its mandate, Omran is the master-developer of a number of mixed use tourism and lifestyle developments that seek to add value to unused or underdeveloped government lands, said Walichknowski. As master-developer, Omran’s role is to put in place a masterplan that would be attractive for private investors, who then come in with finance, expertise and new product offering, he said.
Three major master developments are currently under implementation, according to the CEO. They include the Madinat Al Irfan city in partnership with UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim, and the Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Development in partnership with Damac of the UAE. At Musannah, where Omran already owns a hotel operated by Millennium, the Group is master-developing vacant land around the property for further development, he said.
Other Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs) supported by Omran in partnership with international developers include Al Mouj in Muscat, Muscat Bay, Jebel Sifah and Hawana, and Ras al Hadd.
Further, as part of its role in the delivery of the Oman Tourism Strategy 2040, Omran is supporting the Ministry of Tourism in the development of five tourism clusters distributed across the Sultanate. These clusters are being developed around the tourism potential of Musandam’s coastal appeal, Muscat Governorate, Nizwa and other attractions in the interior parts of Oman, the Al Sharqiyah coastline, and Dhofar Governorate. Cluster development entails investments in tourism infrastructure over the 2016-2020 timeframe, he said.