MUSCAT: The Ministry of Tourism is about to launch new projects in various governorates with a view to boost tourism and generate investment opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These include creating new heritage houses and exploiting old neighbourhoods in different wilayats as restaurants, guest houses and artifacts markets. This was stated by Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, in an interview with Oman Arabic, sister daily of the Observer. He said that an agreement has been reached with Al Raffd Fund and other entities for funding of these projects.
“The exploitation of heritage houses to accommodate tourists will encourage individuals to attach attention to old buildings and refurbish them for tourism purpose thereby encouraging small and medium enterprises to enter this field,” the minister said.
“Among the new tourism projects envisaged by the ministry include setting up of guest houses in farms in accordance with the specifications and conditions required for obtaining licences. In other tourist sports which lack basic tourist facilities some houses will be used as guest houses for tourists,” Al Mehrzi said.
The firm which will develop the projects is due to present its penultimate draft to the main ministerial committee on February 25, and that draft has been finalised with only small observations related to implementation mechanisms. There is a comprehensive and detailed strategy for all which is related to the development of tourism sector. In this stage the governorates of Al Dakhiliyah, Dhofar and Musandam have been considered as the best in terms of tourism potential to be developed in the current plan. The total volume of investment as part of Oman Tourism Strategy (2015-2040) is estimated at $35 billion including the cost of infrastructure.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER