Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

Oman’s Al Mouj Muscat taps overseas markets for growth

Over half of the sales at the tourism mega-project are from abroad, in particular from Africa, India, Pakistan and the rest of the GCC, chief executive says

Nasser bin Masoud Al Sheibani, chief executive of Al Mouj Muscat, a joint venture between Omani government entities and Majid Al Futtaim. Courtesy Al Mouj Muscat
Nasser bin Masoud Al Sheibani, chief executive of Al Mouj Muscat, a joint venture between Omani government entities and Majid Al Futtaim. Courtesy Al Mouj Muscat

Al Mouj Muscat, a joint venture between the Oman government and UAE property developer Majid Al Futtaim, wants to tap overseas buyers – especially from other GCC markets, India and East Africa – to drive sales growth at its inaugural mixed-use tourism scheme in Muscat, the chief executive said.

The Al Mouj Muscat venture was set up in 2006 to lead the development of a six-kilometre-long mixed-use scheme along the coastline of the Omani capital as part of plans to boost the tourism sector.

There are three joint partners – MAF, Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and Oman National Investments Development Company (Tanmia), both government entities.

“More than 50 per cent of our sales are coming from overseas buyers, in particular from Africa, India, Pakistan and the rest of the GCC,” said Nasser bin Masoud Al Sheibani, chief executive of the joint venture, set up to deliver a 10-year master plan for the 2.5 million-square-metre tourism complex, Al Mouj, Muscat.

Under its Vision 2020 road map, Oman designated several zones as Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC) developments. Previously, only Omani and other GCC nationals could own real estate in the sultanate. In February 2006, other nationalities were allowed to own property in ITC zones, including Al Mouj Muscat.

The project may even seek to expand outside Oman over the coming years, in response to the growing appetite among international investors for its product, but this would require approval from shareholders, Mr Al Sheibani told The National.

Like elsewhere in the GCC, Oman’s property market has suffered a slowdown in recent years, as lower oil prices crimped consumer purchasing power and dampened investor appetite. The sultanate has taken measures to diversify its predominantly hydrocarbon-led economy, including making investments to grow the tourism industry, and opening up the real estate market to foreign investors.

The Al Mouj Muscat is 50 per cent complete, the chief executive told The National. Once finished, it will comprise an 18-hole golf course, a 400-berth marina, public square and shopping mall as well as residential units. The multibillion-dollar project is scheduled to complete in 2024, with the latest phase of three and four-bedroom Ghadeer Villas launched for sale in April.

Overall, 2,400 residential units have been sold at the development since 2007 and 2,200 homes have been handed over to buyers – “a diverse mix of end users and investors”, Mr Al Sheibani said.

The Kempinski Hotel Muscat and Mysk Al Mouj Hotels are already operational at the site, and a Rotana-branded property is under construction.

Updated: May 22, 2019 11:38 AM

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