Growing tourism in Al Wusta
The Ministry of Tourism has invested in 13 hotel facilities and three other projects on land, while Al Wusta’s director of tourism has received 24 applications for investment on more than 2.8mn sqm area.
Al Wusta governorate has various tourist attractions and different environments spread across its four wilayats, namely Haima, Duqm, Mahout, and Jasr. It makes the governorate a tourist attraction throughout the year. Its beautiful beaches stretch along the Arabian Sea from Ras al Ruwais in the wilayat of Mahout to Ras Sauqra in the wilayat of Jasr. The high mountains bordering the Arabian Sea and the magnificent wadis decorated by the Ghaf trees and many wild plants, as well as their natural reserves, including natural reserves and wetland reserves, add into its attraction.
These elements have been strengthened by a strong tourism infrastructure, consisting of 13 hotel facilities with 600 rooms and several other facilities.
Nasser bin Marhoon bin Fadhil al Abdali, Director of Tourism in Al Wusta governorate, said that there were three tourism projects on land invested by the Ministry of Tourism. Two of them have been implemented, and work on the third is underway. These projects will add to the already strong tourism elements of the governorate. Also, there are several tourism projects announced by the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm, which will be established in the wilayat soon. As for the services provided by the tourism department of Al Wusta governorate, he stated that it was implementing whatever is planned by the ministry as its working arm in the governorate. It is providing services required by the investors; working to create awareness; making efforts for statistics, tourism development, planning, and follow up of tourism lands; as well as finding new plots for tourism development, other routine works related to quality control and inspections, follow up of taxes, contracts, and other administrative and financial issues.
He added that the Ministry of Tourism was playing a significant role for the improvement of tourism sector in the wilayats of the Sultanate. Duqm is one of the wilayats of Oman which has distinctive tourist elements and natural tourist attractions. This is why it has its share of the attention of the ministry, similar to other wilayats. There are lands allocated for tourism development and opened up for investments. Announcements are also made about them in the media. These are about the land which is in the wilayat of Duqm and outside the boundaries of the Special Economic Zone Authority.
The number of applications for investment in tourism projects in the Special Economic Zone of Duqm was 24 at the end of the first quarter of this year. It covered a total area of more than 2.8mn sqm.
About promotions and marketing of the tourist elements, the director of tourism said that the role played by the ministry in Al Wusta governorate was not a secret. Duqm is like any other wilayat of the sultanate. But it enjoys more attention as it is a major tourist attraction, an economic zone, and a meeting point of investors. This is why it is important to intensify marketing and promotions of the wilayat, especially after the establishment of high-quality tourist facilities and international hotel chains. The work of the ministry is not limited to investments and promotions. There are other works being carried out by the ministry which is represented in the department of tourism in Al Wusta governorate. It organises seminars and lectures to deliver a message to the common people who are impacted by tourism. The focus is on tourism awareness. The school students, associations, craftsmen and other segments of society are the target of these awareness campaigns.
In addition to this, the ministry wants to coordinate with all concerned organisations and parties to provide appropriate services to tourists, focusing on tourist sites and maintaining them on a continuous basis. It also wants to provide other services, such as making consumer goods available, so that there is no scarcity of these things, particularly during national occasions and holidays. The ministry is also taking care of the signboards to guide tourists in the wilayat and placing them at prominent places to make them visible for all.
Duqm Economic Zone: 18km tourist strip
Duqm Special Economic Zone is known for its waterfront and a tourist strip of 18km. This area, which overlooks the sea, is the right place for large and vital tourist facilities.
Moreover, there are no specific limits for tourism investment. It is possible to start different types of projects, which are comprehensive and can meet future requirements of the zone.
The region is strategically located overlooking the Arabian Sea and is influenced by the atmosphere of the Indian Ocean during summer. The summer temperature is moderate, so it is a promising tourist area. It has beautiful beaches and other geographical characteristics which are attractive for tourists. The facilities, roads, communications and infrastructure in the tourist area are almost complete. The zone has been characterised by a magnificent rock garden.
According to a recent report released by Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority, the estimated value of these projects is about RO4.7bn. These are investments of businessmen of different nationalities, including foreign and Arab as well as Omanis. The existing completed projects are valued at RO37mn.
The number of contracts signed for the establishment of hotel projects in the region is 27, with a total area of more than 3.7mn sqm, according to the report.
There are three hotel establishments, namely Crowne Plaza, a 4-star hotel with a seafront view of the Arabian Sea, with 213 rooms and 16 suites; Park Inn Duqm, a 4-star hotel located off the beach and consisting of 73 units; and Al Madina Hotel, a 3-star hotel with 118 rooms, which is close to the centre of the wilayat, residential areas and shops.
The report also lauded that the role of tourism investment projects in attracting foreign capital and encouraging Omani businessmen to invest their money domestically. This is good for investors and meets the aspirations of different segments of the society.
Investors in the tourism sector are enjoying many facilities in Duqm and Muscat. Investors are also granted tax and customs exemptions, and renewable land use contracts are granted for long term for up to 50 years.
How to reach Al Wusta:
Al Wusta governorate can be reached through the desert road, Adam-Haima-Thumrait, or through the coastal road of Sur-Jasr or Izki- Sinaw-Jasr, or by air from Muscat to Duqm.
Places to visit in Duqm:
Visit the Duqm beach, which has soft and clean sand, and cool water and air.
Explore different types of limestone rocks dating back to the third geological era in the rock garden.
Visit Ras Madrakah beach and enjoy strolling on the white sands and watching swarms of birds (the beach is characterized by the dark ophiolite rocks).
Relax in Wadi Navon:
Visit Taraf beach and creek and enjoy the cool Arabian Sea weather and experience adventure tourism in the sand dunes near the beach.
Places to visit in Wilayat Haima:
Visit the natural reserve and know the types of Arabian oryx and other such animals (four-wheel drive is preferred for the purpose; basic information on the reserve can be obtained from the Environment Conservation Office).
See camel races in wilayat of Haima (information about these seasonal races can be obtained from the Oman Camel Racing Association website). Also experience four-wheel drive in Zamaim deserts.
Tourist activities in wilayat of Jasr:
Walk on the beach of Sauqr where you can see streams of water flowing from creeks and see ruins of old houses.
Enjoy seeing pink lakes and the Ghawi Creek along Jasr Beach.
Tourism activities in Mahout:
Experience sailing on a ferry on the beach. You can enjoy watching a lot of birds.
Enjoy sardine fishing in the season for which Al Wusta governorate is well known.
Take a stroll on the beach and enjoy watching the birds and the sunset.