Oman is to build thousands of new homes and make them available for sale to expats under new plans announced by the country's tourism ministry.
According to a report by the Times of Oman, an estimated 5,000 new properties will be constructed as part of the sultanate's Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC) initiative. These designated tourism sites are currently the only places where foreigners are legally allowed to purchase property.
The scheme forms part of the sultanate's drive to reduce its reliance on oil and gas while increasing tourist numbers and attracting greater overseas investment.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Mubarak bin Hamad Al Alawi, advisor of legal affairs at the Ministry of Tourism, said: "Oman has taken a positive step by opening up the real estate market to Omanis, GCC citizens and other nationalities. The government received a number of applications.
"The total investment required for the new tourism projects through the Omani Tourism Strategy (2016-2040) is between OMR18 billion to OMR936 million, of which 88 per cent of these investments are through the private sector and have been approved, while others are in the development stages."
Planned projects include the Diyar Ras Al Hadd Resort, Omagine Project, Quriyat Integrated Project, Naseem Al Sabaah Project and Al Nakheel Project.Mr Al Alawi said Oman sees the tourism industry as a vital economic sector that will play a significant role in developing a country's economy, creating job opportunities, and supporting the government's revenue schemes.