MAY 8, 2024

Oman offers diverse tourism projects and integrated residential plans

MUSCAT: The real estate development sector in the Sultanate of Oman is a promising and enabling sector for implementing investment opportunities, and it is one of the most important fields that receive great attention supported by the readiness of the basic infrastructure system of roads, electricity, water, sewage, and a well-thought-out regulation and planning for the future of this vital sector.

Eng Khaled bin Nasser al Mahruqi, Director General of Real Estate Development at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, affirmed that the ministry has worked on preparing a national plan for the development of the real estate development sector by studying and analyzing the current situation of the sector and turning challenges into initiatives that contribute to stimulating it and enhancing investment opportunities to make the sector a major contributor to the Omani GDP.

He said in a statement to the Omani News Agency that one of the most prominent real estate development projects in the Sultanate of Oman is the Sultan Haitham City project, which is the first smart and sustainable project like an integrated city with an area of 14.8 million square meters, including around 20,000 residential units distributed over 19 integrated neighborhoods with various facilities and services that meet the needs of residents such as healthcare, schools, colleges, universities, mosques, roads for internal transportation, pedestrian and cycling paths, as well as water and sewage services.

He explained that there are many projects such as the Al Khawair Downtown project, estimated at RO 800 million, and the development project of Green Mountain Front as an integrated tourist complex, which is currently under study, pointing out that these projects will add various tourism destinations in the various governorates of the Sultanate of Oman in modern and diverse styles.

He pointed out that the real estate development sector aims to attract about 70% of foreign direct investment to the Sultanate of Oman in the coming years, indicating that the sector will have positive ramifications by activating the role of small and medium companies as suppliers, contractors, construction sectors, building materials, and other businesses related to these projects.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning has recently launched 6 housing projects in various governorates of Oman within the Integrated Housing Plans and Neighborhoods project. These include Luban District in the Wilayat of Nakhl in South Al Batinah Governorate, Majd District in Suhar in North Al Batinah Governorate, Fort Al Zain in Bidbid in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, Al Ahed Neighborhood in Al Amerat in Muscat Governorate, the Palm Hills project in Khasab in Musandam Governorate, and the Al Shorouk Neighborhood in Salalah in Dhofar Governorate. The total area of these projects reaches 3.3 million square meters, with an investment value of RO 333 million, including more than 5,000 diverse residential units.

The Ministry also awarded several integrated residential plans covering a total area of 1.3 million square meters, with an investment value of RO 5.7 million, represented in the Rustaq plan in South Al Batinah Governorate, the Nizwa plan Al Dakhliyah Governorate, and the North Al Sharqiyah plan in Al Mudhaibi in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate.

On his part, Younis bin Khasib Harrasi, Chairman of the Board of the Omani Real Estate Association, said that the real estate development projects announced by the Sultanate of Oman in the past few years are large projects that will undoubtedly have positive economic effects and represent a promising opportunity for investors. This is in light of the government incentives and facilities provided, such as not needing local partners in addition to the multiple areas in which foreign investors can work and the possibility of obtaining financial facilities and other advantages, such as getting residence years ranging from 5 to 10 years within the investor residency program.

The real estate sector in Oman is witnessing significant growth. The trading volume in 2023 grows by 6% compared to 2022, expecting this growth to maintain its rates during the coming period due to the large projects announced and the actual start of the Sultan Haitham City project, which provides numerous opportunities for investors and real estate developers, he added.

He added: "What the Sultanate of Oman is witnessing at this stage of offering many opportunities for investors in the real estate development and tourism projects is unprecedented and in line with the government's directions."

The Omran Group — the Omani government's arm for tourism development and investment — is working on establishing and operating tourist destinations and providing various investment opportunities, attracting the best developers and operators of hospitality brands regionally and globally.

In recent years, Omran has signed strategic partnerships with several prominent developers on the regional and global levels, representing various tourism projects, with the most prominent being the Aida project in partnership with the Dar Global Group. It aims to invest around $1.6 billion to establish a multi-purpose tourist project on an area of about 3.5 million square meters between the Yiti and Yanket areas in Muscat, with approximately 3,500 residential units and two hotels totaling 450 hotel rooms.

Omran is partnering with Diamond Developers to implement the The Sustainable Yiti City project with an investment value of about $1 billion, including the construction of 1,657 residential units featuring 300 eco-friendly villas with high-efficiency designs and various villa spaces, as the city relies entirely on renewable energy sources to operate all its facilities.

The group, in collaboration with Diyar Holding from Qatar, is executing the construction works in the Diyar Ras Al Hadd project in Sur in South Al Sharqiyah Governorate on an area of 1.9 million square meters, comprising around 200 hotel rooms and 50 villas distributed among five-star hotels, in addition to 1,029 residential units.

Omran has recently signed an agreement to develop the first Club Med resorts in the Middle East, in Khasab in Musandam Governorate, with an investment value exceeding $100 million, adding around 300 hotel rooms upon its completion in 2028.

In collaboration with the Majid Al Futtaim Group, Omran aims to establish the Al Irfan Hills project in Muscat with a total development area of 4.5 million square meters to provide approximately 11,000 residential units, retail stores, and other facilities. Additionally, Omran has implemented various different tourism projects in the governorates of the Sultanate of Oman, including the Jebel Sifa, Al Mouj Muscat, Muscat Bay, and Hawana Salalah projects, as well as owning hotel assets in several international hotels.

Statistics from the National Centre for Statistics and Information show that the total value of real estate trading in the Sultanate of Oman reached approximately RO 587.5 million in Q1 2024.

Kuwait was the highest investor in the Sultanate of Oman in terms of real estate transactions in 2023, with investments amounting to approximately RO 26.7 million through 319 real estate transactions. This was followed by the Republic of India with around RO 12.2 million through 70 real estate transactions, and the United Arab Emirates with a value of RO 5.3 million through 319 real estate transactions. — ONA