Muscat: The Ministry of Tourism yesterday signed an agreement to transfer five projects to Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) in the first stage.
The agreement was signed by Maitha bint Saif Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Peter Walichnowsk, CEO of Omran.
Abdullah bin Salim Al Hajri, Assistant Director General for Administrative Affairs at the Ministry of Tourism said that the agreement will help separate the legislative aspect and executive aspect of the tourism sector.
Therefore, the Ministry will be in charge of developing the legislations and system that regularise the sector and Omran will be in-charge of implementing these projects.
He added that the agreement transfers five projects namely Al Hoota Cave in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah, the Scientific Centre Project in Ras Al Jinz, Al Ashkharah Rest Area in the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah, Al Uwaifiyah Rest Area in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah, Salalah Rest Area in the Governorate of Dhofar.
He said that the agreement, which will be implemented from January 1, is the first package of the projects that will be transferred from the Ministry of Tourism to Omran.
The second package includes a number of castles and forts.
The transfer of Nizwa Castle to Omran has been already initiated in coordination between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
Omran, in its turn, has transferred the Nizwa Castle to Bawader LLC, a local company in the Wilayat of Nizwa.
The move comes in a bid by the government to give private and local companies the opportunity to be involved in the management of castles and forts.
He also pointed out that the transfer of assets to Omran aims at increasing the value of its shares at the local market and allow Omran to negotiate with many local and foreign investors with interest to invest in the tourism sector in the Sultanate.
“During the past period, the Ministry has entered into many agreements to operate some of its projects and that negotiations will be initiated with Omran for the transfer of these contracts under its supervision, he added.
“The Ministry has signed a number of agreements with investors to build integrated tourism complexes that can add value to the national economy, increase the number of hotel rooms and create fresh job opportunities, he furthered.
On his part, Eng. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Ajmi, Director of Projects and Business Developments at Omran said as per the pact for the transfer and operation of these projects, the company will develop these projects and will involve SMEs in their management and operation. — ONA
He pointed out that the company will evaluate the assets of the projects that were transferred and then will be offered for investment by the private sector, especially from the same governorate at which the project is located to ensure tourism sustainable development in all governorates and to activate domestic tourism.
The development of these projects will start in 2018 as many companies of those approached expressed their interest in developing these projects.
The tenders for expression of interest for companies that have been qualified may be floated by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The bids will be then evaluated and agreements will be signed for the management and operation of these projects.