Muscat: The Oman British Friendship Society had organised a conference at Manichean House, the official headquarters of the Capital District Mayor in London, on the theme "Oman Logistic Sector and Tourism—Connection Between Individuals and Trading."
The conference discussed the details of the current development witnessed by the Oman logistics sector and aspects of investment in relation to the development of the tourism sector, human growth and training.
The event was attended by His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, the minister of Heritage and Culture and included ceremonies for signing a strategic agreement for ground handling between the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) and the British Minses Company.
The Mayor of the Capital District in London, Lord Alderman Mountevans, delivered a speech in which he expressed his happiness with the selection of the Capital District by those in-charge of the Oman logistics sector and to organise a conference about the same.
Mountifans pointed out that a great part of world shipping is funded and managed from London in cooperation with the British financial and logistics institutions and their Oman counterparts, and with the help of investments in the Oman logistics sector.
Maqbool Ali Sultan, the chairman of the Oman British Friendship Society said the conference coinciding with the anniversary of Oman’s Renaissance Day on July 23, 1970 was a reminder of the great achievements made by the Sultanate during 46 years under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, which has made the Sultanate a secure and peaceful oasis for investment.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abdullah Zahir Al Hinai, the ambassador of the Sultanate in the United Kingdom emphasised that the spirit of friendship between the Sultanate and the Britain will remain strong and constant despite any incidents or uncertain situation and the Sultanate will never hesitate to stand besides Britain in the time of a crisis, particularly since Britain is a great foreign investor in the Sultanate and a secondly a great commercial partner.
Commenting on the Oman logistics sector and its development plans until 2040, Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Salim Al Futtaisy, minister of Transportation and Telecommunication, in a visual presentation reviewed the achievements of the sector and the available investment opportunities available in the long term.
He further spoke about the development processes currently underway at five airports located across the Sultanate between Muscat, Salalah, Al Duqum, Ras Al Hadd and Sohar and the plans for connecting these airports with ports and roads networks and railways in the future. This will make the Sultanate a regional and international logistic centre, and therefore the concept of founding a holding company for all companies operating in the logistics sector under one umbrella, which is Oman Logistics International Group.
Al Futtaisy said these plans require investment in various fields for transferring air and marine ports to a comprehensive logistics site, which would need highly qualified, skilled and trained manpower that would comply with international specifications to approach a competitive capacity. This would enable these cities to attract trading for increased economic revenues and for investing resources efficiently.
Lord Tariq Ahmed of Wimbledon, the minister of Transportation and British Aviation, said the United Kingdom has international and pioneering institutions in the logistics field and emphasised that his country would not hesitate to cooperate with its Omani counterparts to develop the Sultanate’s logistics sector. He also said he plans to visit the Sultanate and become acquainted with the Omani logistic development projects and explore Omani experience in this field.
Abdulsalam Al Murshidi, chief executive officer of State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) said the fund endeavours to exploit investment opportunities to achieve better and sustainable revenues and apply a disciplined methodology to search for potential investment opportunities.
Al Marshady added that the fund has actually made mega investments in the logistics sector and garnered great experience in this field, emphasising that any serious investor will be supported by the fund, provided he offers a valuable feasibility study for his project and the procedures for securing loans for Omani investors are very easy and simple and do not take more than a few days at the time of fulfilling the required guarantees.
Sheikh Ayman bin Ahmed Al Hosni, chief executive officer of OAMC said the vision of the company is to make Omani airports figure among the best 20 airports worldwide in 2020 and will follow the route, which has been determined by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for Oman during the Blessed Renaissance by offering opportunities to Omani youth and opening the field of creation for them in an industry that depends on modern technology for ground handling services for commodities and passengers and airport management, pointing out that in the future the airport will not only serve a city, but will become a comprehensive city that includes hotels, shopping centres, restaurants and conference centres serving the growth of the national economy. From this point on, OAMC will endeavour to provide the required training to any Omani youth, who desire to work in this field.
In terms of the tourism sector, Sheikh Hilal bin Ghalib Al Hinai, Green Tourism Advisor, Ministry of Tourism, said Oman’s tourist strategy for 2040 will become applicable from the beginning of this year, including a great package of projects, plans and programmes to enhance the contribution of the tourism sector to the gross domestic product, through the development of facilities and the level of services and diversifying tourism products, which meet local, regional and international requirements in the long term.
The advisor to the Minister of Tourism added that Europe and particularly Britain will currently form an important destination for tourists, pointing out to the existence of a certain programme to increase the number of tourists coming from Europe, especially given that the varied climate in the Sultanate, its location, nature, culture and history make it a destination for Europe’s tourists during the whole year.
At the end of the conference Sherard Cowper-Coles, the chairman chairman of the Oman British Friendship Society delivered a speech in which he expressed his gratefulness to all those who attended the events and pointed out their contributions, including during the conference to keep "sufficient nutrition for the minds and concepts of the attendance of operators in the logistics, tourism, architecture and other sectors.”