Oman Reveals Plans for $2.4bn New Omani Mountain Destination on Jabal Al Akhdar

Oman Reveals Plans for $2.4bn New Omani Mountain Destination on Jabal Al Akhdar
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  • Oman Reveals Plans for $2.4bn New Omani Mountain Destination on Jabal Al Akhdar   

Investment partners sought for transformational sustainable development opportunity as Sultanate targets increasing foreign investment to 10% of GDP

The new Omani Mountain Destination (OMD) on Jabal al Akhdar, which will be Oman’s highest altitude development at 2,400m was revealed today by the Oman Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (MoHUP). Situated 95 miles from Oman’s capital, Muscat, the transformational $2.4bn project will contribute to the nation’s projected pipeline of planned projects worth over $33bn.

Masterplanned by AtkinsRéalis and designed in consultation with local communities, it will include 2,527 homes and 2,000 hospitality rooms as part of hotels, and a purpose-built health and wellness village, The Vessel. The destination is expected to attract a residential population of more than 8,000 and an average of 2,350 overnight visitors and 2,000 daily visitors. Due to its high altitude, the area has a comfortable climate with an average yearly temperature of 22°C.

The project is a key part of the Oman Vision 2040 to achieve a developed, diversified, and sustainable national economy, with fair distribution of development gains and protection of natural resources. The nation is targeting $51bn in tourism investment by 2040, following a successful investment of $7.8bn between 2021-23. The country is pioneering a “cluster” approach to tourism, providing a range of unique experiences with easy reach to enrich the diversity and quality of its tourism offerings. Oman aims to double tourism’s contribution to GDP to 5% by 2030 and again to 10% by 2040.

With a significant focus on social and environmental sustainability, alongside its residential, retail and hospitality offerings, the OMD will include a biodiversity centre for local and international R&D, dedicated health and wellness areas, a high-altitude sports training centre, amphitheatres, museum and parks and public spaces.

As part of its commitment to preserving the area’s existing ecology, the development includes an escarpment walk in a remote wilderness area that has been legally protected as a National Scenic Reserve. This will ensure low light pollution to maintain the destination’s Dark Sky Zone.

The development will also include the new Wadi Al Harbi Park, comprising a new bridge, farming and agrotourism, family recreation activites, and mountain biking and extreme sports facilities, including bungy jumping, rock climbing. The OMD will be serviced by a new cable car, and improvements to other transport infrastructure in the area, which are already underway, including a new access road from the north which will allow access for the two most populated governorates in the country, South and north al batinah.

The OMD’s contextual design is underpinned by AtkinsRéalis’ award-winning whole-lifecycle sustainability approach, ‘Seed’, focusing on environmental, cultural, and social wellbeing. The destination targets Net Zero Carbon in operation, 100% renewable energy, and a 40% reduction in embodied carbon, with 85% of the destination pedestrianised alongside the provision of extensive cycleways. It aims to preserve and enhance biodiversity, protecting existing 500-year-old native Juniper woodlands, Arabian Tahr, and other animal populations, and ensuring more than 90% of new plantings are native species.

MoHUP has engaged and collaborated with local stakeholders in the surrounding communities to canvas public opinion about the project. Results from these surveys are being used to ensure plans for the project meet community needs and growth plans. A key outcome of the project is ensuring local residents are given fair access to employment and economic opportunities throughout each project phase, including the 5,000 new jobs the project is forecast to create. To support this, legislative changes ensure the local Omani community can invest and buy land on the development, with 10% of the project area allocated exclusively for this purpose.

His Excellency Dr. Khalfan Al Shueili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, said: “Today, we introduce our vision for the Omani Mountain Destination to the global community. This significant milestone brings us a step closer to delivering a new international destination that celebrates and protects Oman’s natural landscapes and ecology. Equally, it demonstrates our steadfast commitment to shaping a sustainable future for our nation. We look forward to welcoming international partners to work with us on this project. Together, we can create a destination that delivers prosperity for the local communities of the Jabal and the people of Oman for generations to come.”

Ibrahim Al Waili, CEO of Oman National Spatial Strategy (ONSS), said: “This flagship project represents our vision for Oman’s future as pioneers of sustainable urban development. The project delivery will be undertaken in a Special Planning Zone created to ensure the balance is maintained between heritage conservation and the implementation of future-facing infrastructure. Through its inception, we have refined valuable strategies in community engagement, stakeholder collaboration and environmental and cultural preservation that we are already using as the blueprint for future projects.”

Davide Minniti, Associate Director Masterplanning / Urban Design of AtkinsRealis, said: “The Omani Mountain Destination (OMD) is a place of play, adventure and discovery. It balances three fundamental values: Nature, Culture and Future. The master plan recognises nature’s intrinsic value in everybody’s quality of life and well-being by blending its rugged landscape into each aspect of the project. Culture makes the OMD unique; the masterplan invites the global community to enjoy Oman’s calm way of life on the Jabal, its communities and the awe-inspiring landscapes. The OMD is a beacon of innovation – it looks to the future through smart solutions, an urban lifestyle centred around people, walkability and community spaces, and through the understated elegance of subtle design solutions along the wadis and escarpment. This project is the result of a collective effort across the visionary MoHUP, our design teams and the Jabal Al Akdhar communities.” 

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About Mary Weyand 11644 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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