A comprehensive development agreement was signed yesterday between the Government of the Sultanate and Qatari DiarRas Al-Hadd Development Company SAOC, a newly established entity that is jointly owned by the Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) representing the government of Oman and Qatari Diar Company. The shareholding in the development company is divided between Omran at 30%, while the remaining 70% will be held by the Qatari Diar Company. The signing ceremony took place at the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Muscat, and gives the green-light for development to commence on the eco-themed Ras Al-Hadd tourism project, located in South Al Sharqiyah Governorate.
Representing the Omani side, the development agreement was signed off by His Excellency Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrazi, Minister of Tourism and board member of Omran, while His Excellency Ali Shareef Al Emadi, the Qatar Minister of Finance and Chairman of Qatari Diar Company officiated for the Qatari delegation.
The event also saw attendance from senior officials of Oman and Qatar, including His Excellency Sultan bin Salim Al Habsi, Secretary-General, Supreme Council for Planning, His Excellency Darwish Ismail Al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Finance Affairs and deputy chairperson of Omran, other Excellencies, Eng. Wael Al Lawati, CEO of Omran, along with a number of senior officials from the concerned authorities.
The Qatari delegation also included His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Al Khatter, the Qatar Ambassador to Oman, and Mr Khalid Mohammed Al Sayed, Group CEO of Qatari Diar.
Within the terms of the agreement, the Qatari Diar Ras A-Hadd Development Company SAOC will develop the eco-themed Ras Al-Hadd project, which covers a land area of approximately 1.848 million sq m, with an estimated project budget of 250 million R.O.
The first phase includes the establishment of a 100 room eco-themed resort, 50 hotel villas, 150 residential villas and a 7,000 square metre area for a market souq. The expected completion of the first construction phase is anticipated by the end of 2018. While the second phase of the development involves the addition of 100 new 5 Star hotel rooms to the resort, as well as an additional 196 residential villas, and a dedicated center for wildlife preservation and observation park set over a 10,000 square metre area. Furthermore, the third construction phase sees the construction of a separate 200 room 5 Star Resort, an additional 50 hotel villas and 179 residential villas, as well as the development of a new market area covering 16,000 square metres, as well as the construction of a specialized marine life park. The final phase of the Ras Al-Hadd project will witness the opening of a 150 room 5 Star Hotel, 50 hotel villas, 175 new residential villas, as well as the construction of a dedicated heritage village, and a specialized accommodation zone for support staff with a capacity for 836 employees.
On this occasion, His Excellency Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrazi, Minister of Tourism commented, “The Ras Al-Hadd project forms part of comprehensive Government growth strategy aiming at developing the tourism sector in Oman. The development fully caters to emerging trends in the tourism sector globally, and once completed will provide tourists and visitors with a stunning insight into the unique wildlife in the region, as well as generate broadereconomic opportunities for the tourism sector in the Sultanate. This growth strategy directly aligns with the Royal Directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a focus that looks atbalancing new developments to cover the different regions of the Sultanate in a sustainable manner.”
Commenting on the competitiveness of the tourism sector in Oman, His Excellency added, “The tourism sector has proved its capability in attracting global investors due to the high potentials in this field. We are very pleased to sign the agreement today with Qatari Diar, a company that is developing a large number of impressive projects regionally and globally, besides being a fellow member of the GCC. We are confident that the Ras Al-Hadd development will be implemented based on the highest global standards and will prove to be a quality addition to the growing tourism sector in Oman, further enhancing our competitiveness globally.”
His Excellency Ali Shareef Al Emadi, the Qatar Minister of Finance and Chairman of Qatari Diar Company noted, “We are always delighted to be present in the brotherly Sultanate of Oman as we have extremely strong and close ties. This agreement is part of the Qatari Government's focus to promote investment in Oman in order to serve the common interests between our countries. We hope that this great project will be the beginning of a new era of cooperation in developing the tourism and economic sectors between the two brotherly countries." He added.
Commenting on the importance of the Ras Al-Hadd development agreement to cater to growing expectationson Oman as a word-class tourist destination, and to develop the necessary tourism infrastructure to a global standard, Eng. Wael Al Lawati, CEO of Omran added, “We are pleased to work with Qatari Diar Company, the leading real estate developer in the region. Their deep experience from many international markets in this field will no doubt be of major benefit when implementing the new project according to the highest international standards.”
“Ras Al-Hadd has a fantastic growth potential as a destination for local, regional and international tourists to discover the stunning wildlife of the region, and to experience the history and hospitality of Omani culture. This eco-themed project delivers a number of unique tourist attractions within the master plan, including a wildlife preservation and observation park, a marine life park, and of course, the heritage village which will celebrate the rich history of Omani culture surrounding Ras Al-Hadd. The resort and residential developments, as well as the attractions, firmly adhere to the core themes of sustainability and responsible tourism management. These principles are based on joining hands with the local community, both in terms of job creation as well as preserving and celebrating the cultural heritage of the area, and safeguarding the environment for future generations to enjoy. The Ras Al-Hadd project will make a significant contribution towards maintaining the continued growth in our tourism sector by providing a new and truly unique destination within the Sultanate.” He added.
Mr Khalid Mohammed Al Sayed, Group CEO of Qatari Diar, expressed his happiness to work with the Sultanate of Oman. "I am pleased to be here today in the Sultanate of Oman to mark such an important occasion as the agreement to develop one of the most beautiful areas in a truly wonderful country.”
“Our presence here showcases the deep brotherly ties between Qatar and Oman. I am confident that we will not stop at the Ras Al-Hadd project, but this project will be the first of a series of unique projects that we want to implement here in the Sultanate of Oman; a country that is moving rapidly towards upscale and unique tourism.”