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The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has signed a usufruct agreement with Bin Sheikh Holding Company for a project in the wilayat of Seeb.

The RO120mn project comprises Omani heritage markets or souqs, hotel facilities, a cultural and commercial centre, restaurants, cafés and a harbour area spread over 97,804m.

The project will be completed in two and a half years at a cost of RO120mn, Mohsen bin Mubarak Khawar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bin Sheikh Holding Company, said on Thursday. “It will provide about 2,000 jobs. It will have traditional Omani souqs, restaurants, cafés and shops which will be leased for 50 years,” he said.

H E Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, signed the agreement on behalf of the government while the investing company was represented by Khawar. The project is part of the plans to develop integrated tourism complexes where the investor will develop the area as per the engineering concept agreed upon by MoT.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Khawar said, “The ministry is encouraging investments in the sector by providing all necessary facilities. It helps in setting up hotel facilities to cope with the growth in the tourism sector in the sultanate. The project will be an important addition to the tourism sector comprising traditional and modern elements with focus on civilisational aspects.”

H E Ahmed al Mehrzi also signed ten other usufruct pacts to develop hotels, hotel apartments, tourism resorts, restaurant complexes and tourist camps in various governorates of the sultanate. All this is part of efforts being made by MoT to boost tourism facilities in different parts of the country.

An agreement was signed to establish a three-star hotel and a three-star tourist resort in Musandam. Another agreement was signed with Nakhal National Company to build a three-star hotel and a restaurant complex in South Batinah while a pact was signed to set up two tourist camps in North Sharqiyah.

H E Mehrzi also signed an agreement to set up a three-star tourist resort and a tourist restaurant in Dakhliyah governorate. Two agreements were signed for establishing a two-star hotel and hotel apartments in Dhofar.

In North Batinah, a three star hotel will come up as part of an agreement. Another agreement was signed to build a tourism resort in Muscat governorate.

Mohammed bin Hammoud al Zadjali, Director General of Investor Services and Quality Management in MoT, said that the usufruct agreements are part of the efforts to encourage investments in the tourism sector.

“This is expected to increase tourism facilities and services to cope up with the requirements of the economic developments and diversify sources of national income as aspired by the government. It would add value to the tourism sector of the country if requirements for hotel rooms and tourist facilities are met.”

Zadjali said that these projects will serve the local communities by creating employment opportunities.

He said that the tourism investment projects are in line with the growth achieved by the sector which demands increased hotel establishments of different classifications.

“These agreements which were signed by the ministry strengthen the efforts made by the government to empower the tourism sector as one of the five major sectors adopted in the national programme to promote economic diversification.”

Zadjali added that private investment in the tourism sector was moving forward. “Investments are being made in projects such as tourist facilities, hotels or integrated tourist complexes.”

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