Muscat: Oman’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmad Al Meherzi, revealed on Monday that Oman Oasis tourist project is a fake and does not exist.
In April 2015, a press conference was held in Muscat announcing a gigantic $6-billion (Dh22.02-billion) project by Omani businessman Sabaa Al Saadi.
News reports on this were published in the local, regional and international press.
The proposed project was to be built in Shinas province, on the northwestern coast of Oman, and was to include five- and seven-star hotels, an international sport hospital, a health club, villas, chalets, a yachts port, a mosque and a shopping mall.
The revelation came after members of Oman’s elected Shura Council raised questions about the project and its launch.
Al Meherzi said the project was announced by the Omani national who owns a land project and the Ministry of Tourism had nothing to do with it.
“After launching an investigation into the project, it turned out that the project is fake,”, he said.
The project was supposed to be built on an area of around 834,000 square metres and was to be completed in six years.
Meanwhile, members of the council have demanded granting the entire jurisdiction to manage the whole tourism sector without any interference from other authorities to the Minister of Tourism.
On his side, Al Meherzi called on the members to hold him accountable in case of any irregularities.
Members also demanded all ministers to focus on their job and not have business interests in companies.
That came after the Shura Council hosted Al Meherzi for two days, Sunday and Monday, to discuss the state of the tourism sector in the country and future plans.
Political instability in the Middle East is the main reason for the drop in tourists visiting the country, Al Meherzi said on Sunday. “Sliding oil prices have also curbed general investment in the tourism sector,” he said.
The National Strategy for Tourism 2040 aims to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the gross domestic product by six per cent.