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Tourism fever

With Dubai taking its tourism infrastructure to new levels, other GCC countries are beginning to get in on the act. Oman is the latest to announce a billion dollar project.

The GCC's increasing taste for tourism has hit Oman after the Sultanate announced plans on May 26 to create a holiday beach resort in Muscat, as reported by the Dubai-based Khaleej Times.

The plan, which is valued at US $1 billion, is in its advanced planning stages following the approval of a pre-feasibility study.

A spokesperson for the project highlighted that the resort will cover three million square metres of land stretching across seven kilometres of the Azaiba Mawaleh beach.

“The resort will transform the area into a major tourist attraction in the Gulf. It will include water sports, bungalows, hotels, a golf course, restaurants and a beach town complete with shopping centres and houses,” said the spokesperson.

He added that the government considered the tourism industry a viable way of moving away from the country’s dependency on oil revenues and would create increased business opportunities for local tour operators as well as new jobs for Omani nationals.

The Omani government recently confirmed that it expected crude oil production in the country to drop by 8% in 2003.

This latest venture follows confirmation in May that the Al Sawadi beach resort near Muscat will see a $308 million expansion. The project will develop luxury hotels, two 18-hole golf courses, a water park, private villas and other entertainment facilities.

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