First Published: 2013-05-31

 

Omans maritime heritage maintained

 

Government approves plans to expand Port Sultan Qaboos in order to boost tourism sector.

 

Middle East Online

By Dr. Hussein Shehadeh - MUSCAT

The Omani government’s initiatives aimed at developing and expanding facilities for visitors, to Port Sultan Qaboos, gives this vital economic sector a major boost. Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, approved the master plan that entails setting up a specialised company to develop the ambitious project. When completed, the terminal will have eight dedicated areas with state of the art facilities for arriving passengers.

The plan includes building of marinas for cruise ships, yachts and other sailing vessels. The terminal will feature shops, service centres, yards, aisles, recreational facilities, a yacht club, hotels, restaurants and other utilities to cater to the tourists. The number of cruise vessels that visit the country’s ports in Salalah and Muscat will go up once the project has been completed.

One of the highlights of the project will be the façade of the structure which will be designed to reflect the Omani maritime heritage. The project will create huge job opportunities for nationals across all levels, not only in tourism-specific categories but also in related infrastructural facilities and services. Sultanate is among the top tourist destinations in the world – the country’s varied topography, culture and history have drawn visitors since ancient times, and over the past four decades the tourism sector has grown by leaps and bounds.

Strategic initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism, that include creating awareness of Oman’s rich bio-diversity and rich cultural and historical legacy, have been hugely successful. Other public sector undertakings and allied industries and establishments have all contributed towards the success of the tourist trade. An important point to note is that great care is taken during development of tourist facilities in the country; the target being sustainable and environmental-friendly development.

In this direction, the focus is on local people who inhabit villages and hamlets in near-by and remote tourist-oriented regions. It is essential that any development in such areas is of benefit to them - the people should get the opportunity to better their economic livelihood through such developments. And, this responsible approach to developing this sector is to be welcomed as it ensures preservation of the country’s natural wealth that has been so instrumental in attracting visitors from around the world, and contributing to the nation’s economy. As development of tourism infrastructure is a continuous process in the country, investors have a great opportunity to tap into its vast potential.

Although there are challenges to be met, government has always aimed at boosting investor-confidence by ensuring implementation of plans, funding and management. Expansion of the tourism sector is an integral part of the nation’s overall development march.

 

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