Muscat: It’s known for its growing reputation as an industrial powerhouse, but Duqm’s Special Economic Zone will also house world-class tourism facilities as officials look to create a comprehensive blend of business and commercial activities and leisure facilities for Oman’s future city.
After attracting billions of dollars in investment into its lucrative industrial zone, SEZAD revealed their entire city plan that will encompass all aspects of a modern city with a strong focus on tourism.
“Duqm is going to be a complete city and a top tourism destination, not just an industrial zone in the future,” Jalal Al Lawati, promotions manager for the Special Economic Zone of Duqm (SEZAD) told the Times of Oman at the Port of Duqm’s third Logistic Seminar held at the Hormuz Grand Hotel in Muscat.
“We have a 220 kilometre-stretch of virgin shoreline, which is an ideal location for tourism and we have already signed agreements with investors to develop this area and they are studying the plans.”
According to Al Lawati, three types of tourists are under the radar for Duqm’s tourism plans. Local tourists that move from Muscat to Salalah, business tourists that come in for industrial reasons and a long term plan to build Duqm’s pristine coastline as a hub for beach farers.
“We are currently focusing on anchor projects that can bring people to the country. We see industrial zones as an upside because it creates demand for tourism. All the different zones will complement each other to develop the economy,” he stated.
The master plan of the city lays out separate zones to accommodate industrial activities, divided into small, medium and heavy, and residential and tourism complexes isolated from each other to nullify any risks of emissions.
“We have organised the city in such a way that heavy industry is kept far away from the city followed by medium and light industries. We have even looked at wind directions in the architectural plan so that no emissions can flow into the city. The tourism areas will be built even after the city. All of this is segregated very efficiently, but clustered in one freezone,” he explained.
“It is a city under the freezone entitlement with logistics, industries, residential, commercial and tourism aspects all under one umbrella.
“Most interestingly, all are under freezone regulations that come with several benefits and without taxes. We have already invested OMR705 million on infrastructure, construction and maintenance. We also have an international school in the city.”
Apart from being a home to huge mineral reserves and an ideal sea port location, Duqm also has a huge investment potential in sectors, such as fisheries, food and beverage, and the downstream oil and gas and mining industry. SEZAD has invited investors to study these sectors as “it is a Greenfield project and all ideas to invest are accepted.”