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Ferry to link Oman tourist attractions

Service to connect major spots as marina opens at Jebel Sifah to attract visitors and residents

Image Credit: Sunil K. Vaidya/Gulf News
According to Philip Jones, managing director of Orascom Marine Management, theNational Ferries would run smaller 150-seat boats from The Wave to Jebel Sifah.
Gulf News

Muscat A ferry service linking Oman's leading integrated tourism complexes (ITC) could soon be a reality, according to senior official of an ITC complex in Oman.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the opening of a 100-berth marina at Jebel Sifah town, 40 kilometres east of Muscat, Philip Jones, managing director of Orascom Marine Management, said that the National Ferries were considering a ferry service linking The Wave, Bandar Al Rowdah, Bar Al Jissah and Jebel Sifah.

"It would be a perfect link from a tourism point of view also," he added.

The Jebel Sifah's developer Muriya unveiled the inland facility at a ceremony that formally opened the marina. "We can accommodate boats from six metres to 60 metres," Jones said.

He said that they would encourage Gulf nationals as well as residents to sail to Jebel Sifah, which overlooks the waters of Oman.

Jones said that there were no immigration facilities at the Jebel Sifah marina.

"At the moment those coming here will have to first go to Port Sultan Qaboos to complete the immigration formalities," he said. However, he was optimistic about the Royal Oman Police (ROP) opening a post at the marina in near future for immigration formalities.

"The cruise traffic to Oman is increasing and the ferry link would be ideal for tourists to visit different ITC projects," he said, adding a day-long ferry, linking all ITC projects, would be an added attraction for tourists.

According to him the National Ferries would run smaller 150-seat boats on the proposed ferry from The Wave to Jebel Sifah.

Jones said that the new marina will serve as a vibrant hub for yachtsmen and recreational boating. "We would like boat owners from Dubai to come to Jebel Sifah and enjoy the facilities here," he said about the serene location away from the hustle and bustle of Muscat town.

For Muriya, the soft opening of the marina marks another major milestone in the development of a world-class tourism and residential scheme at Jebel Sifah.

Designated an integrated tourism complex (ITC) by the Ministry of Tourism, Jebel Sifah boasts all of the elements that make for an iconic development.

Jebel Sifah is spread over 6.2 million square metres of scenic waterfront edged by white sand beaches.

In addition to the marina, the ITC will also include an 18-hole PGA golf course.

"Peter Harradine is designing the golf course," said Chandra Lahiri, CEO of Muriya.

Muriya also operates a 40-minute water taxi service between Marina Bandar Al Rowdha and Al Sifah at fixed schedules.