The CEO of Oman’s sovereign wealth fund has announced that its focus will be redirected towards boosting tourism in the country, following a spate of protests in the north of the country. Hassan Al-Nabhani has said 70 per cent of the fund will be invested in domestic projects moving forward.
In a Bloomberg Newsweek report, Al-Nabhani is quoted as saying, “We are trying to rejuvenate and achieve developmental goals in Oman through investments that are all commercially disciplined and seeking returns.” “The jewel of the crown is tourism, Oman is yet to reach its full potential in tourism”, he added.
The Wave, a purpose-built marina on the coast of Muscat, is perhaps Oman’s most prominent yachting landmark. Its custom-built superyacht marina, Almouj can accommodate vessels up to 65m and has plans to extend its number of berths from 120 to 400.And the Almouj management is confident that the country can resonate with superyacht owners. Speaking to SuperyachtNews.com, a spokesperson said: "Oman has all the ingredients to make it a superyacht hub - a stunning coastline, a variety of destinations to enjoy and, most importantly, new world class marinas to cater for the growing demand for berths.
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Of course, governmental establishments such as OmanSail not only benefit the country’s marinas, but also the local community, as well as preserving the country’s maritime heritage. The country’s marine manufacturing industry is still in its early stages, but looks very promising with emerging local boat builders producing vessels with very high standards."
Furthermore, in May 2012 Jebel Sifah marina opened in a location 45 minutes from Muscat. The project was part financed by the government vehicle Omran. Bruno Meier, general manager for ART Marine Marinas, believes that these flagbearers are a sign of Oman’s potential, although he feels its zenith is still a long way off. “ART Marine had an operation in Oman but the market was moving too slowly and we closed it”, Meier explained. But it is an area that Meier is monitoring closely, and one he expects to blossom in the long term.
Camper & Nicholsons Marinas operate the Middle East’s most prominent marina, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. The company’s sales and marketing director, Kurt Fraser agrees with Meier’s view about the long-term prospects for Oman but feels that traffic in the region is inherently tied to domestic yacht sales. “In the superyacht context we’ve learned that it’s very difficult to attract vessels from the rest of the world”, Fraser said. And although Yas has proved a very successful venture it is because of “a shift in our thinking away from larger yachts towards lots and lots of day boats.” Fraser does feel however, that countries such as Oman would benefit from the reinvigoration of the Middle East’s yacht show calendar, which has been cut back in recent years, that would induce visiting superyachts and prompt chartering in the area.