Muscat: Omran is committed to driving forward the tourism sector in a strategic way, Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of Omran has said.
He was speaking during a visit to Omran’s newly opened regional office in Salalah.
Omran is the Sultanate’s master developer for tourism and urban communities.
The office, which was opened by Omran’s executive management team, including Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi and CEO James Wilson, will help oversee Omran’s growing portfolio of investments and tourism offerings in Salalah.
The visiting delegation also included Sheikh Qais Al Hosni, Head of CEO’s Office; Mohammed Al Eissa, Corporate Communications Manager; Salah Al Ghazali, Chief Investment Officer; and Zoltan Kali, Chief Strategy Officer.
The Khareef (Monsoon) season continues to attract a growing number of travellers and visitors to Salalah, and given its year-round tourism offering, Oman aims to further drive tourism development and investment in Dhofar. While visiting the new office, the delegation analysed the prospect of a new Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC) which would increase the company’s growing portfolio of tourism investments in Salalah. The ITC would include branded residential units as well as additional four and five star hotels and resorts.
Speaking during the regional office visit at Omran’s Crowne Plaza Resort, Salalah, Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, Chairman of Omran, said: “The development of local, regional and international tourism is increasingly important for Oman’s economic diversification. As the Sultanate’s leading master planner and developer, Omran is committed to driving forward the tourism sector in a strategic and focussed way, especially in areas of exceptional beauty, such as Salalah.
“One of the ways we’re achieving our objective is by forging strategic partnerships with both local and international investors. The success of these partnerships will act as a catalyst for further investments across the Sultanate.”
Al Sunaidi added: “The regional mission in Salalah underlines our commitment to establishing a dedicated team to support the company’s growing portfolio of tourism investments in Dhofar and to manage the progress of our new developments in the area. This will help ensure that Omran delivers on its objective to enhance visitor experiences across the Sultanate with an aim to offer those visiting the historic southern tourist destination a diverse range of options and experiences.”
Following the office visit, Omran’s Chief Investment Officer, Salah Al Ghazali, said: “Omran’s new Salalah office will enable us to directly support our growing number of properties and investments in the Dhofar region and help us increase the 900 hotel rooms we already offer in our Salalah portfolio.”
“It will also help facilitate the initiation of new projects and joint ventures (JV) that will further enhance the local tourism infrastructure, crucial to generating local employment opportunities across Salalah and the surrounding area,” he added.
“A stunning year-round destination, with a favourable climate and spectacular landscape, Salalah has enormous potential to be a leading domestic, regional and international visitor destination. Omran is helping in catering to these visitors by investing in new amenities and resorts,” Al Ghazali concluded.
As part of the tour, Omran’s management team also inspected the progress of the new Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, Omran’s JV with local private hospitality developer, Mohammed Barwani Holding Company, which is preparing for its official opening later this year. The luxury property is the first Anantara resort to open in Oman and is set to be an important addition to the tourism offering in Salalah. Developed next to the Al Baleed UNESCO World Heritage site and frankincense museum, the new resort will offer guests high levels of luxury and a superior cultural experience.
The extensively landscaped resort features 106 one, two, and three bedroom chalets, most with their own courtyard swimming pools. The main hotel building houses 30 guest rooms, a range of recreation facilities, a health and wellness spa, boutique retail, high quality food and beverage outlets, including themed restaurants and function areas.
The 50 per cent public-private partnership (PPP) behind the new resort is a clear example of a key approach that Omran is taking to develop tourism infrastructure across Oman. One of Omran’s other JVs in the Dhofar region which the new office will be supporting is the Salalah Beach.
The destination’s development is being taken up in partnership with Muriya, and presents modern amenities blended with traditional Omani charm. The family-focussed integrated tourism resort includes three hotels --- the Juweira boutique hotel with 82 rooms which opened in 2012, the 400 room Rotana Salalah and the Al Fanar Hotel & Residences Salalah which opened in December 2015 with 218 rooms.
Both Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah and Salalah Beach Resort have also been recently transferred as two additional properties in Omran’s Dhofar portfolio.
The unique qualities of Dhofar as a tourism destination have meant hoteliers and investors are increasingly looking at the area for new developments. A number of brands are planning upcoming resorts there, including Shaza hotels in Salalah and Alila Resort in Mirbat. Both are set to introduce a new line of luxury, recreational and rejuevenating experiences for visitors landing up in Oman’s southern haven.