Muscat: Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) unveiled a number of development projects aimed at developing the tourism sector, boosting the national economy and enhancing competition in the sector, making the country a top tourist attraction on the regional and international map.
Eng. Wa'el bin Ahmed Al Lawati, the CEO of Omran, said the company is studying 12 tourism projects in different areas of the Sultanate, including developing water parks, castles and forts and building eco-tourism resorts.
In a statement to the Oman News Agency (ONA), he pointed out that in 2013, tenders worth OMR78 million for Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, energy centre, and a parking area were assigned, in addition to the Traveller's Oasis project in Salalah worth OMR1 million.
He added that the company made a bid for the tender of three hotels, worth OMR120 million, adding that the Commercial Services Department at Omran awarded contracts worth OMR85 million in 2013, in addition to OMR170 million tenders under process.
He said that construction work at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre continued in 2013, as the company assigned tenders worth OMR82.2 million, in addition to OMR66 million worth of construction consultancy tenders. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Oman National Investment Corporation and Al-Futtaim Group to develop and manage the largest shopping centre in Oman as part of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Al Lawati, the CEO of Omran, said that 2013 was marked by significant progress in case of two major projects, namely the Alila Al Jebel Al Akhdar Resort and Atana Musandam, and these will open in the second quarter of this year.
He added that the company made significant progress in 2013 in case of a number of other projects, as work started in January 2013 at the Al Baleed 5 Star Resort, and will be completed by 2015.
He said the first phase of A' Duqm Seafront residential city was completed in May 2013, and second phase work is expected to start. He said that the company achieved 72 per cent rate of Omanisation in public jobs in 2013 and 100 per cent in senior management, adding that 92 per cent of its employees were trained through 70 training sessions.
He informed that the report of the Economist for Tour and Travel 2014 explained that the direct contribution of the tourism sector to the domestic economy amounted to OMR982.8 million in 2013, or three per cent of the GDP with a forecast to increase this contribution to or 2.2 billion in 2024.