CREATING COMMUNITY

Oman 2018 | REAL ESTATE & TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Nasser Al Sheibani, CEO of Al Mouj Muscat, on becoming a leader in integrated tourism complexes (ITCs), new projects, and reaching international investors.

Nasser Al Sheibani
BIOGRAPHY
Nasser Al Sheibani was recently appointed CEO of Al Mouj Muscat, Oman’s pioneering ITC, after serving as CFO since 2014. Al Sheibani has over 15 years of experience in the property development, hotels, banking, and oil and gas sectors. Through this experience, he has developed significant skills in management, strategy, development management, information technology, human resources, asset management, and finance and accounting. He is a Non-Executive Board Member of Oman Investment & Finance Company and an Audit Committee Head. He graduated with a bachelor’s in finance from Sultan Qaboos University and has attended various executive education and leadership programs, including the national CEO program delivered by IMD and McKinsey.

What steps have been taken to position Al Mouj Muscat as a leader in the ITC segment in Oman, allowing the company to receive awards locally as well as internationally?

It is simple; we try to deliver quality results in a timely manner. Our goal is to constantly push ourselves to achieve international standards and discover new horizons. We always strive to bring new concepts and services to the country that will improve our customers' lifestyles. Focus and attention to detail is of the utmost importance to us, which is why we team up with the best architects and operators in the market to deliver the best results. Our most prestigious project at the moment are the Zunairah Villas, which won the best single unit award in the region at the most recent Arabian Property Awards 2017 in Dubai. Meanwhile, The Walk is perhaps the first urban dining retail experience in Muscat, and we are the first to develop a private promenade. It will consist of 3km of promenade and walkable area complemented by dining facilities within that space. We sought to achieve not only an enjoyable dining experience, but also make it a place where people of all ages can celebrate art and music. We seek to give the younger generations in particular a platform to express themselves and showcase their talents. At the heart of The Walk, we are building a public square that will include an open amphitheater and stage for local and international talent to perform while people enjoy the F&B offerings. Creating that sense of community is what makes us different.

How are Omanis reacting to your offerings, and how will the hospitality segment impact this reaction?

Our offerings are a complete package, both in terms of the pricing and amenities. One aspect in particular where we try to differentiate ourselves is through community and lifestyle living. Any developer can offer the best design; however, how the community bonds and lives is much more important. Furthermore, since we are an ITC, it is extremely important to make every component, which has different requirements, work together in harmony. We have managed to deliver an internationally awarded tourism infrastructure such as Al Mouj Golf and Al Mouj Marina. These facilities in Al Mouj Muscat have enabled the country to increase in touristic appeal and allow it to host international sport competitions such as the America Cup, Extreme Sailing, and European Golf Tour to name few. We have also recently opened our first hotel, Mysk Al Mouj by Shaza, a four-star, 195-room hotel, and the Kempinski Al Mouj Hotel, which consists of 310 rooms and is expected to open by 1Q2018.

Do you have any projects in mind for the near future?

Approximately 50% of our land is currently occupied, and we will thus continue to work on new concepts and new mixed-use developments, apart from residential. We seek to have an international school, for example. We will also bring entertainment options for the younger generations. There is a great opportunity there, as there are not many entertainment options in Oman at the moment.

What are Al Mouj Muscat's main objectives for 2018?

One main goal is to continue our vision and best utilize our ITC license. We started actively going overseas to do roadshows for the first time in 2016, as our customer base is 50% Omani and 50% non-Omani. We have grown our overseas customers base from 5 to 27% between 2015 and 2017. Every time we go abroad to sell, we are successful. However, there are many challenges, and we have developed many attractive ways to explain Oman and what it has to offer to people. All of us need to do a better job in marketing Oman if we want to attract tourism.