Muscat: Government plans to install state-of-the-art facilities including public restrooms along main routes have been welcomed.
Tourism is a central plank of Oman’s move away from its dependence on oil. Already, the plan is bearing fruit, with tourist numbers visiting the Sultanate already on the rise.
Better facilities for tourists in popular resorts and along all main connecting routes will help drive the economy - and will also be a boon for locals who want to tour the country.
According to the Implementation, Support and Follow up Unit (ISFU), the government organisation that oversees the progress of the nation’s Tanfeedh programme for economic diversification, the tourism sector is being pushed as one of the key areas for growth.
Under one of the key performance indicators (KPI), titled “Create domestic services for tourism” the ISFU Annual Report 2018 states: “The objective of this KPI is to provide new services whilst developing existing ones. The focus in 2018 was to provide a number of services identified as quick-wins to enhance the needs of local travellers, such as public restrooms for petrol and non-petrol stations, beach development and recreational vehicle (RV) parks.”
Another KPI that focuses on creating projects to facilitate domestic travellers states: “This KPI aims to create some projects to benefit domestic travellers by focusing on developing tourism service stations on major expressways such as the Quriyat-Sur road.”
Considering the importance of enhancing domestic tourism and providing more facilities, activities and services, this initiative was added to the 2018 tourism initiatives to help reach the main goals of top-line tourism KPIs.
The working group was divided into four sub-groups, each one responsible for overseeing projects or services including restrooms in petrol and non-petrol stations, beach development, recreational vehicle parks and tourism service stations.
Talking to Times of Oman, a frequent traveller from Muscat to Sohar said that installation of restrooms will make the journey extremely comfortable.
“I travel every weekend to Muscat from Sur with my two-year-old daughter, and looking for a practical restroom that offers baby changing, for example, is difficult. Many times, I had to change my daughter in the car. With the installation of modern restrooms, the journey will become easier as I won’t have to worry about changing the clothes of my daughter or looking for a restaurant on the way to use the facilities,” Heba Alqadhi said.
An official at Muscat Municipality said: “The municipality encourages private sector companies to invest in building public toilets in the capital and other tourist attraction spots.”
He added: “Now, tenders have been awarded to some companies to build public toilets in some tourist destinations nationwide.”