MECA-MoT pact to develop eco-tourism in nature reserves

August 13, 2017

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) to develop eco-tourism in nature reserves and open avenues for investments.

H E Mohammed bin Salim bin Said al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, said that 30 days is the maximum period for issuance of an environmental permit for large projects.

He added that all the services of the ministry and permits are now directed through electronic window and linked with Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Invest Easy portal.

H E Toobi further said that the ministry has reviewed several laws and regulations in order to facilitate and simplify procedures for the investors. “The sultanate is one of the first countries in the region to set environmental requirements for development projects as well as supporting sustainable development.”

A committee involving MECA and MoT was formed earlier this year to prepare strategies and plans related to the development of eco-tourism in nature reserves across Oman. The committee aims to develop standards for protection and conservation of wildlife, heritage, natural resources, tourism diversity and exploitation of these resources in a sustainable way.

It is also looking to involve local communities in the development and the preservation of resources, in addition to preparing guidelines for eco-tourism and sustainable management of nature reserves.

In April, MoT said that two investors have shown interest to develop a wildlife reserve in South Sharqiyah and a geological wonder in Al Wusta.

H E Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, said that the ministry has received a request from a Kuwaiti investor to develop the Al Saleel Wildlife Reserve in the wilayat of Al Kamil W’al Wafi in South Sharqiyah.

The ministry has also received a request from a local investor to develop the Rock Garden in Duqm, Al Wusta governorate with an aim to preserve its unique rocks and geological history.

H E Mehrzi added that investments in Al Saleel and Rock Garden are going to be among the first private sector involvement in a nature reserve and an area of geological importance.