Oman to establish think tank to study tourism sector needs


MUSCAT — Khalil bin Abdullah al Khonji, Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has said the OCCI is striving to transfer Omran Tourism Development Company’s pioneering experience in investment and real estate to the private sector with the aim of benefiting from such an outstanding experience to enhance co-operation and boost chances of success and profitability.

He added that a study is under way to establish an Omani think-tank to administer the hospitality sector. Al Khonji was speaking at the fifth Ramadhan Evening which was attended by Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah al Khalili, Minister of Tourism, and Wael bin Ahmed al Lawati, Executive Chairman of Omran, officials, experts and other stakeholders.

The evening’s topic of discussion was the achievements and aspirations of Omran and the outlook of the tourism sector in the Sultanate. Al Khalili hailed OCCI’s efforts to reinforce the communication channels between government officials and the private sector, and the chamber’s role in keeping the private companies abreast about the opportunities available in different public sectors.

The minister said that the purpose behind the establishment of Omran is to serve as an investment arm for the ministry. The company is entrusted with execution and management of ministry’s tourism projects, adding that he endorses the ministry’s supervisory role to oversee and organise the work of companies that execute tourism projects. In future, he noted, Omran can become a public company fully administered by the private sector.

Al Khonji stressed on the importance of the projects being carried out by Omran in development, tourism investment and real estate such as the Jabal Sifah, Salalah Beach and Duqm. He pointed out that the meeting is aimed at highlighting the challenges the company faces and its corporate responsibility.
Al Lawati pointed out that the company is currently executing projects worth $4 billion. He noted that his company has been awarded many certificates of quality in production and projects management which puts the company in the forefront and enables it to bring its projects to success. He also highlighted the company’s contribution in providing job opportunities for Omanis as it has achieved an Omanisation rate of 65 per cent.

Al Lawati said that his company is co-operating with foreign investors which has resulted in many joint projects such as Bander al Jissa Resort which will be opened next year, Salalah Beach project and Jabal Sifah project besides a partnership with Oman Sail.

The attendees stressed on the importance of encouraging internal tourism by the Tourism Ministry. This should include setting up services facilities and public amenities at tourism sites.