Oman has not yet converted its tourism sector into a reliable a real industry that can contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product, but the value of investments in the sector is expected to touch $2 billion in the next phase, with 50 per cent of the investment projects awarded to Omani government and private enterprises and the other 50 per cent to foreign investors.
Tourism Minister Ahmed bin Nasser al Mahrazi said that an assessment study of 41 tourism projects shows that three of the projects have been operated, 9 are under implementation, 3 began to be set up, 19 not yet started, 5 are cancelled and 2 to be opened during this year. "This means that 65 per cent of the projects have not yet seen the light", said al Mahrazi. The minister pointed out that the projects were expected to provide 15,000 additional rooms in case they were implemented to be added to the existing 12,000 rooms.
The minister admitted that most tourism projects are faced with a problem of financing, coupled with the challenges of proper management and operation. This necessitated the devising of more terms and conditions for the implementation of new projects. The number of hotel establishments rose to 248 now, compared to 100 in the year 2000, said the minister, noting that the projects, when completed, will considerably enhance the tourism sector and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.
In addition to 23 basic terms and conditions, a working plan has been laid out to activate the role of authorities. The minister was addressing a gathering at Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).
Oman Daily Observer