To bridge the gap between the abundance of four and five-star properties in popular hotspots and the need for facilities to tap potential in the interior, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has earmarked several thousand square meters of land for 22 tourism investment projects with the aim of boosting entrepreneurship and taking development beyond Muscat.
The ministry has also approved the building of 54 hotel facilities, which will add 2,908 rooms to the sultanate's inventory. A majority of the new hotels will be one and two-star facilities, and will come up in the interior governorates – only 14 of them will be in the capital Muscat.
The ministry has also approved 74 hotel apartments and identified 22 locations across the sultanate as spots for environmental camps, shopping and entertainment centers, and a series of three and four-star hotels.
According to the ministry, Oman Development Bank (ODB) is expected to play a big role in these development projects by providing the required funding to Omani entrepreneurs. In Muscat, the ministry has opened up 20,000sq m for an environmental tourism camp and a 15,000sq m site for an entertainment center.
An entertainment center for women and children will come up over 10,000sq m in Mirbat, Dhofar. Another 5,000sq m here has been allocated for a skating and entertainment center. The projects announced for Buraimi include a 166,991sq m hotel and shopping centre, an environmental camp spread over 107,077sq m, and a four-star hotel and villas complex in Hay al Nafahat on 50,000sq m.
Investment opportunities in Dakhliyah include a three-star hotel and restaurant complex in Samail, a 12,000sq m entertainment center in Jebel Akhdar and a 10,000sq m tourism camp at Nizwa.
For North and South Batinah, the ministry announced a 10,000sq m tourism camp in Sohar, a 9,000sq m restaurant complex in Rustaq and a 13,000sq m environment friendly rest house in Al Awabi. Apart from these, a three star hotel in Al Qabel, an entertainment center in Mudhaibi, a three-star hotel in Sur, a restaurant complex and three-star hotel in Al Kamil W’al Wafi, and a three-star hotel in Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan are also planned.
The ministry in its latest Annual Report (2013) said it has approved the building of 54 hotel facilities, which will add to the existing 282 accommodation facilities in Oman - 24 new hotels were added in 2013, representing growth of 9.3 per cent.
The number of hotel rooms grew by 12.3 per cent last year to 22,521, while the number of tourists grew by 7.8 per cent to 2.1mn. At the end of 2013, there were 12 five-star hotels, 21 four star hotels, 24 three-star hotels, 33 two-star hotels and 53 one star hotels, in addition to 95 hotel apartments, 28 rest-hotels and 16 camping sites.
Among the newly-approved facilities, 14 hotel facilities with 1,205 rooms are in Muscat, including a five-star hotel, six three-star hotels, five two-star hotels and two one-star hotels. In the Dakhliyah governorate, the ministry approved the establishment of five new facilities with 255 rooms. In the Buraimi governorate, two hotels will be established while another hotel will be developed in Musandam offering 50 rooms.
In North Sharqiyah governorate, three hotels will be built offering a total of 77 one-star hotel rooms, while South Sharqiyah will see two one-star hotels with 58 rooms. In the Dhofar Governorate, two hotel facilities will be established as approved by the ministry. With a two-star and one-star ranking, both facilities are poised to offer a total of 74 hotel rooms.
In Al Wusta governorate, a total of eight new hotel facilities will be established, offering 145 hotel rooms. (Source: Muscat Daily at http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Features/Renaissance-Day-Special-Welcome-to-Oman-3bw4)