Luxury hoteliers vie for Oman development

Several global hotel brands—including Emaar The Address, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Hyatt, Viceroy Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Banyan Tree Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Chedi and Four Seasons—are reportedly looking to develop and/or manage one of the seven hotels planned for a new waterfront development in Oman.

The Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Project is an OR500 million ($1.2 billion) mixed-use redevelopment of 101 hectares of land at Sultan Qaboos Port. Construction of the first of four phases is set to begin later this year, and the project should be completed by 2020.

Salah Al Ghazali, chief investment officer at Oman’s tourism body Omran, said that the group was "heartened" by interest from "prominent local investors" who "understand the attractive and enduring returns on offer with this state-backed project...Our priority is to offer opportunities to local investors, followed by the regional and international investment community.”

Omran is planing to establish a dedicated investor relations taskforce to field additional interest from private sector investors and is also set up a company to develop the project. Just over half (51 percent) of this new company is to be owned by Omran, and the remaining 49 percent by pension and investment funds and private investors.

“In this era of low interest rates, and low returns on more traditional investments, investors are looking for new markets and avenues to provide healthy and secure sustainable and recurring returns,” Al Ghazali said.