A single-window system for the processing of applications linked to tourism related projects is currently being established at the Ministry of Tourism — one of several initiatives spearheaded by the Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU) in support of the Omani government’s economic diversification goals.
Together with parallel efforts to amend usufruct and land lease regulations, the proposed One-Stop-Shop is expected to do away with bureaucracy and dramatically speed up the licensing and approvals process linked to tourism related investments in the Sultanate.
The move to ‘Enhance Applicant Services for all Tourism Related Projects’ aims to provide a “clear and transparent set of standard operational procedures” for investors to secure approvals for their projects,” said ISFU, which operates under the auspices of the Diwan of Royal Court, in a new report.
“It also aims to accelerate and streamline the application process for tourism projects, such as the establishment of 1 to 5-star hotels, by setting up a single-window for client services which will come under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT),” it stated.
Given the role of multiple government ministries and agencies in licensing and approval procedures governing tourism investments, the Tourism Lab organised by Tanfeedh (The National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification) proposed the introduction of Service Level Agreements (SLA) to be signed by the Tourism Ministry with all of the relevant government stakeholders. These stakeholders include the Royal Oman Police (ROP), Ministry of Housing, Muscat Municipality, Dhofar Municipality, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA), and Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources.
“By signing this agreement, it is expected that all relevant stakeholders will respond to tourism applications within a specific duration for each entity. For example, the process to establish a new hotel application (1-5 stars) will take a maximum of 27 working days and the process for allocating unmarked land will take a maximum of 92 working days,” the ISFU report explained.
“The SLA will help by giving clear processes and expected timelines for investors to avoid uncertainty and have a clear window of correspondence, enquiries and advisory support,” it noted.
With the support of ISFU, the Ministry of Tourism has succeeded in signing a number of Service Level Agreements with various stakeholder entities aimed primarily at resolving challenges faced by the promoters of single-asset tourism projects. As part of this initiative, a competent technical team will be selected to support the One-Stop-Shop in resolving any complex technical challenges that may be encountered when processing investment applications.
ISFU is eager for the Single Window System to be fully operational before the end of 2019.
Fazah Fort: Situated in the town of Liwa, Wilayat Liwa, Al Batinah Region, Fazah Fort dates back to many centuries and played