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Sunday, August 31, 2014  

Shura discusses steps to boost tourism sector with Mehrzi
Suhail Al Nahdi

MUSCAT The Shura Council concluded its discussions with HE Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, on Monday.

The discussions covered several aspects of development and problems in the tourism sector. The Shura Council members put forward several proposals and demands about opening new horizons of activities that promote and enrich tourism and contribute to the creation of a real tourist environment and industry in the country.

HE Ahmed Bin Saud Al Maashari, Shura member, inquired about the tourism projects the ministry intends to establish in the Wilayat of Al Amerat, especially near the Protection Dam. He said that the ministry is allocating some locations for tourism projects. He also inquired about the ministry’s stand in this regard in the wilayat.

Al Mehrzi gave reply to the questions. He said that the ministry had received a number of proposals from citizens to shift the residential areas near the dam to commercial lands as the area has become a tourist destination. The ministry will discuss these proposals according to the policy adopted in housing schemes, he said.

Al Maashari also inquired about the ministry’s plans towards Wadi Al Meih and Al Sareen Sanctuary. Al Maashari said that there was a plan for the optimum exploitation of sanctuaries and wanted to know whether they are affiliated to the environment, tourism or that of the Diwan of Royal Court.

As for the wadi, he said that there will be an integrated plan.

Talal Al Matrooshi, Shura member, said that there is not a data base for the minister and stressed that the Sultanate is the biggest state in terms of expenditure on tourism and inquired about the amount spent by the ministry on foreign promotion.

Al Matrooshi said that the ministry imposes restrictions on Omani investors and added that he had proof on the issue. He accused the ministry’s employees of selling lands of the Sultanate and receiving money in their personal accounts. He said that he has documents to prove the charges.

He said that there is no coordination between the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Housing in terms of expropriation of land for public interest and the distribution of tourism lands to investors.

Al Mehrzi told Al Matrooshi that if he has documents to prove the charges he should come to the ministry and discuss the issue positively. The issue of imposing restrictions on investors could also be discussed during the meeting, he said.

On lack of data base, Al Mehrzi admitted that there was shortage of data base. But there is total cooperation with the National Centre for Statistics in this regard.

Oman Tribune
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