$6bn Oman tourism project is “fake”, says minister

$6bn Oman tourism project is “fake”, says minister

Officials have reportedly revealed that a $6 billion tourism project widely believed to be under construction in Oman is a ‘fake’.

According to a media announcement in April 2015, construction of the Wahat Oman (Oman Oasis) project was to commence in the ensuing weeks and be completed within six years.

Local and regional press reported at the time that the 834,000 sq m leisure complex was to be based in the northern Omani port of Shinas, and comprise five five- and seven-star hotels, an international sports hospital, health club, water sports facilities, mosque, shopping mall, homes and ‘chalets’.

The scheme, said to be owned by Omani businessman Sheikh Sabaa bin Hamdan Al Saadi, was also touted to comprise the Gulf’s largest yacht port and ‘sea fountain’.

This week though, said Gulf News, Oman’s tourism minister Ahmad Al Meherzi claimed that the Oman Oasis project was a “fake” and does not exist.

The newspaper said the minister was prompted to make the claim after members of Oman’s Shura council asked questions about the status of the project and its scheduled launch date. The Ministry of Tourism had conducted an investigation into the project in response.

“After launching an investigation into the project, it turned out that the project is fake,” Al Meherzi said.

The press announcement was allegedly staged by Sheikh Sabaa and the Ministry of Tourism had no involvement in it.

Meanwhile, Al Meherzi said political instability had caused a drop in the number of tourists visiting Oman, though he did not give figures nor a timeframe.

Gulf News quoted him as saying: “Sliding oil prices have also curbed general investment in the tourism sector.”

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