Oman has “strong fundamentals” that make it an attractive place for large-scale and modern developments, Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani.
On Wednesday, Majid Al Futtaim and the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN) announced a partnership to develop the western portion of Madinat Al Irfan, the sultanate’s largest urban development project.
The $13 billion joint venture will see the development of a mixed-use community that will include approximately 11,000 residential units, 100,000 square metres of retail space, 700,000 square metres of office space and a number of cultural and lifestyle offerings.
The project’s announcement, however, comes at a time in which Oman’s economy is facing a significant contraction of oil output and negative GDP growth, prompting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to urge the country to further diversify its economy and work to create more jobs.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the announcement on Wednesday, Bejjani said that the project is a long-term initiative that takes advantage of Oman’s long-term economic outlook.
“Today may not be the best time, but this project is over two decades,” he said. “If you look at population and tourism growth in Oman, the fundamentals are there. We aren’t looking at this project in the context of today, but in the context of Oman’s fundamentals.”
By 2040, Oman plans to attract 5 million visitors for year and employ 500,000 people in the tourism sector.
Peter Walichnowski, the CEO of OMRAN, said that he believes that Madinat Al Irfan would have the added benefit of attracting foreign businesses, particularly those involved in the travel and hospitality industries.
“The signal we’d like to send to the rest of the world is that Oman is open for business, particularly in the tourist business,” he said.
Additionally, in his remarks, Bejjani noted that said Majid Al Futtaim is Oman’s largest non-energy Gulf investor and a long-term contributor to the local economy, having invested over $1.8 million and created employment opportunities for 42,000 people in the country.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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