The government of Oman is making significant efforts to develop its tourism sector. In its Vision Oman 2020, the government sets out its plan for economic success. Part of this includes boosting tourism so that by 2020 it contributes 9.2 per cent to the economy, up from 6.7 per cent in 2010. This will make tourism a main source of income for the country apart from oil.
Muriya Tourism Development, a joint venture between Orascom Development Holdings and Omran, the government's tourism investment agency, is developing four tourism complexes throughout the country.
One of these is Jebel Sifah, a 6.2 million square metre complex located 45 minutes from Muscat. The development looks out on to the Gulf of Oman - indeed, it nestles next to a historic fishing village - and is flanked by the Hijjar mountains. The development includes four five-star hotels (Missoni, Four Seasons, Banyan Tree, Angasana), Sifawy Boutique Hotel, a 100-berth marina and marina town, and an 18-hole golf course.
The marina has numerous shops and restaurants. There are also plenty of activities in the locale. Water-based recreation includes diving, snorkelling and dolphin-watching. The town's beaches are sandy white. Land-based activities include hiking, camping, biking and nature walks. There are also plenty of options for those who are looking to buy homes with numerous spacious and luxurious freehold villas and apartments across town, designed in a modern style that draws on Oman's heritage.
To make it easier for foreigners to come and go, the ministry of tourism will give a residency permit to those who buy homes - and their immediate family - in Jebel Sifah. The apartments, which are ready for occupation, are located within the marina town. They come with one, two or three bedrooms and ranging from 120 to 255 square metres. Five types of villas are also available, ranging from three to four bedrooms. The properties start at $327,600 (Dh1.2 million).