MUSCAT: The Misfat Al Abriyeen heritage tourism project, which was jointly launched by Bank Muscat in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Al Misfat Al Ahlia company is proceeding fast with over 80% of the project now complete. The landmark tourism development project in Misfat Al Abriyeen in the wilayat of Al Hamra was initiated by the Bank in line with its commitment to partnership in sustainable development. The agreement is part of the bank’s Imprints CSR programme and was signed earlier in January this year at the Bank’s Head Office.
The project involves the development of the old Misfat village, which is an important example of Oman’s cultural heritage. The project is currently being implemented by the Al Misfat Al Ahlia company. The project will create a unique tourism experience centred on the old Misfat village, highlighting Oman’s tourism strategy based on a sustainable development model that benefits local communities along with the preservation of the country’s environment and cultural heritage.
The Ministry of Tourism had conducted a comprehensive study in 2015 on the cultural heritage of the village and the investment potential to develop a sustainable tourism project in cooperation with stakeholders in the private sector and the local community. The Ministry of Tourism and Bank Muscat had earlier also commissioned a study by the University of Liverpool in UK, based on which this particular project was launched.
The main components of the project include restoration of the main gate of Misfat Al Abriyeen, preserving its original features. Restoration of some old mud houses is also being done so as to set up a restaurant and a bakery to serve authentic Omani cuisine to both tourists and visitors. Vehicle parking facilities, a tourist information centre and office, a souvenir shop and signage leading to the tourist spot will be developed. The project will give a significant boost to heritage tourism as well as sustainable development in the wilayat of Al Hamra and the surrounding areas.
Al Misfat Al Ahlia company which has been set up by Omani entrepreneurs has been entrusted with the project. This will serve as a long-term investment benefit, creating new employment opportunities for local youth and business opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area. The handling of the project by local entrepreneurs bodes well for the future growth and development of the National Economy and is in line with the government’s vision to develop SMEs as a major contributor to jobs in the sultanate.