Al Mouj is the biggest ITC in the country. How much of an impact does this have on attracting foreign investment?
Al Mouj Muscat is a driver for both tourism and FDI. We are now home to over 7,000 people from 85 nationalities, all of whom welcome the opportunity to live in a vibrant and luxurious setting, creating a direct FDI of OMR340 million in our residential units, and an ongoing contribution to the local economy. Our status as an ITC gives non-Omani buyers the opportunity to enjoy freehold ownership of their property, and secure residency status for themselves and their first-degree relatives.
Al Mouj Muscat supports a growing number of SMEs, by investing in diverse local and national businesses. How does this influence the labour market of the country and therefore its economic diversification?
Supporting economic diversification has long been a focus at Al Mouj Muscat. SMEs form the backbone of the economy and are a key driver for growth. Supporting SMEs not only helps to realize Oman's vision of expansion and diversification but, over the long term, creates self-employment opportunities, boosts job creation, and fosters talent development. Al Mouj Muscat now houses over 150 SMEs and we place great importance on enhancing an eco-system where these enterprises can continue to flourish. They benefit from our world-class infrastructure, our location, guidance, and funding for improving their offer to customers. Visitors flock to Al Mouj because of attractions such as Al Mouj Golf, our retailers, cafes and restaurants, and the Marina. This is a hub for “slow tourism." People spend more time here and therefore more money, creating SME opportunities and jobs—our retail offering alone supports 839 jobs for example. Overall, Al Mouj supports more than 2,000 permanent jobs, with the potential of up to 5,500 permanent jobs once all components of Al Mouj are complete.
Which strategies is the company pursuing to engage in economic growth and diversification by adding value to Oman Vision 2040?
We are wholly committed to Oman Vision 2040. As Oman's premier ITC, we have created a vibrant destination that offers an appealing proposition for both general and niche sector tourism, including cultural, sustainable, adventure, sports, and experience travel. International hotel brands such as Kempinski Muscat and Mysk Al Mouj by Shaza are currently operating, providing a total of 580 rooms. This number is soon to drastically increase with new properties in the pipeline, such as St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat and Rotana Al Mouj Muscat, which will soon bring the total to 1,250 rooms, boosting our capability of hosting events that attract both local and international tourists. Our incomparable location has also allowed us to showcase Oman and build global awareness. The America's Cup for example, provided over OMR8.9 million in the value of media coverage around the world. Al Mouj Golf is already in the World Top 100 Courses and recognized as the second best in the Middle East. By hosting the European Tour and the Oman Open, this outstanding course now attracts year-round visitors. This matters as people who enjoy golf typically also enjoy a high average household income and these travelers create healthy in-country spend on accommodation and cultural and touring excursions. We are now embarking on some truly exciting developments, all of which contributes to the economic aims of Oman Vision 2040. Other international events such as the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon has drawn 10,000 runners annually from 102 countries. By positioning Al Mouj Muscat as Oman's leading leisure and lifestyle destination, by offering outstanding amenities and experiences, we are achieving our aim in attracting local, regional, and international tourists to the Sultanate and delivering sustainable and consistent growth.