Monday 22 April 2024

Oman unveils designs for $2.4bn mountain destination

MUSCAT, February 29, 2024

Oman's Minister of Housing and Urban Planning has unveiled the design of its new mixed-use project, Omani Mountain Destination (OMD), to be set up at its key destination Jabal Al Akhdar, in the sultanate at a total investment of $2.4 billion. 
Masterplanned by AtkinsRéalis, the scheme aims to attract sustainable development opportunities. The project boasts a total of 2,527 homes and 2,000 hospitality rooms as part of hotels, and a purpose-built health and wellness village, The Vessel. 
Designed in consultation with local communities, AtkinsRéalis has responded to both the existing landscape and ecology, as well as the cultural heritage of the area. 
On completion, the key development is expected to attract a residential population of more than 8,000 and an average of 2,350 overnight visitors and 2,000 daily visitors. Due to its high altitude, the area has a comfortable climate with an average yearly temperature of 22°C, said the ministry. 
The project is a key part of the Oman Vision 2040 to achieve a developed, diversified, and sustainable national economy, with fair distribution of development gains and protection of natural resources, it stated.
The new OMD on Jabal Al Akhdar will be Oman’s highest altitude development at 2,400m. Situated 95 miles from capital, Muscat, the transformational project will contribute to the nation’s projected pipeline of planned projects worth over $33 billion, it stated.
According to the ministry, the nation is targeting $51 billion in tourism investment by 2040, following a successful investment of $7.8 billion between 2021-23. 
The country is pioneering a “cluster” approach to tourism, providing a range of unique experiences with easy reach to enrich the diversity and quality of its tourism offerings. Oman aims to double tourism’s contribution to GDP to 5% by 2030 and again to 10% by 2040. 
With a significant focus on social and environmental sustainability, alongside its residential, retail and hospitality offerings, the OMD will include a biodiversity centre for local and international R&D, dedicated health and wellness areas, a high-altitude sports training centre, amphitheatres, museum and parks and public spaces. 
Dr Khalfan Al Shueili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, said: "Today, we introduce our vision for the Omani Mountain Destination to the global community. This significant milestone brings us a step closer to delivering a new international destination that celebrates and protects Oman’s natural landscapes and ecology."
"Equally, it demonstrates our steadfast commitment to shaping a sustainable future for our nation. We look forward to welcoming international partners to work with us on this project. Together, we can create a destination that delivers prosperity for the local communities of the Jabal and the people of Oman for generations to come," he stated.
As part of its commitment to preserving the area’s existing ecology, the development includes an escarpment walk in a remote wilderness area that has been legally protected as a National Scenic Reserve. This will ensure low light pollution to maintain the destination’s Dark Sky Zone, he noted.
 Al Shueili said the development will also include the new Wadi Al Harbi Park, comprising a new bridge, farming and agrotourism, family recreation activites, and mountain biking and extreme sports facilities, including bungy jumping, rock climbing. 
The OMD will be serviced by a new cable car, and improvements to other transport infrastructure in the area, which are already underway, including a new access road from the north which will allow access for the two most populated governorates in the country, South and north Al batinah, he added.-TradeArabia News Service


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