Oman looks to jump start $1.7bn tourism project

New sources of funding to put 'light at the end of the tunnel'

Salam Yiti is to be located fifteen minutes drive south of the Omani capital of Muscat.
Salam Yiti is to be located fifteen minutes drive south of the Omani capital of Muscat.

A stalled project being developed in Muscat by an investment unit of Dubai Holding and the Omani government is to be restarted in the “next few months,” the CEO of the Omani tourist development arm told Arabian Business.

Earlier this month, it was reported that construction on the $1.7bn Salam Yiti project near Muscat had stopped while Sama Dubai - the overseas investment arm of Dubai government-owned Dubai Holding - and the Omani government reviewed the project’s scope and execution.

Wael Al Lawati, CEO of Omran, the Omani Tourism Ministry’s investment arm, told Arabian Business that the project would soon be restarting.

“We are partners there and we are in discussions with our partners in terms of finding other means of pushing the project forward. I see some movement in the next few months in terms of design activities,” he said on Sunday.

“Something is going to be injected into the project. The partners are coming to a slightly different arrangement to make sure there is funding coming into the project,” he added, but did not give any specific details.

Salam Yiti is to be located fifteen minutes drive south of the Omani capital of Muscat and will be spread over a 4.19 square km site on the shores of the Gulf of Oman.

The project was originally expected to include around 400 villas, 720 townhouses, over 1,000 apartments, three five-star hotels, a marina, a Robert Trent Jones II signature golf course and various commercial and retail outlets.

Last year, Sama was merged with fellow Dubai Holding units Dubai Properties Group and Tatweer. The global downturn has seen its international projects being hit with delays and difficulties.

While Morocco’s Tourism Minister Yassir Zenagui claimed earlier this month that Sama had pulled out of a $3bn project in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, a Sama spokesperson told the Bloomberg news agency that it was still committed to its projects in Morocco and Oman.

“That project has some light of the end of that tunnel,” Al Lawati said in relation to prospects for the Salam Yiti development near the Omani capital.

Dubai Holding, which is owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and its units owe banks $12bn and have begun talks to roll over some of the loans, a person with knowledge of the matter told the Bloomberg on May 10.

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