A contract has been signed between Oman's Ministry of Tourism and Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) to streamline the legislative and implementation aspects of the sultanate's tourism sector.
Maitha'a bint Saif al-Mahrouqiyah, Undersecretary of Oman's Ministry of Tourism and Peter Walichnowski, chief executive officer of Omran, signed the agreement.
Abdullah bin Salim al-Hajri, assistant director-general for administrative affairs at the ministry, said that the agreement is part of a system aimed at separating the legislative and executive aspects of Oman's tourism sector.
Accordingly, the tourism ministry would be tasked with developing legislation to regulate the sultanate's tourism sector, while Omran would implement the tourism projects.
The development of these projects will begin in 2018, it has been revealed.
"The tenders for expression of interest (EOI) for companies that have been qualified may be floated by the end of [Q1] 2018," state news agency, ONA, reported.
"The bids will be then evaluated and agreements will be signed for the management and operation of these projects."
The contract's first stage included the transfer of five projects from the ministry to Omran.
Al-Hajri said that the five projects transferred to Omran included Al Hoota Cave and Al Uwaifiyah Rest Area in A'Dakhiliyah, Scientific Center in Ras Al Jinz, Al Ashkharah Rest Area in South A'Sharqiyah, and Salalah Rest Area in Dhofar.
Eng Khalid bin Mohammed al-Ajmi, director of projects and business development at Omran, said that the company would develop projects in line with the transfer and operation agreements, and involve small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) for their operation and management periods.
Omran would also seek to offer select project assets for private-sector investment with the aim of activating sustainable tourism development in the project's governorate.
The agreement, which took effect on 1 January, 2018, marked the first package of the projects that would be transferred to Omran, with the second set due to include castles and forts.
The transfer of Nizwa Castle to Omran has been already initiated in coordination between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
According to al-Hajri, the transfer of assets to Omran would boost the value of its local market operation, and allow it to engage with local and foreign tourism investors.