Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN) has joined hands with QNB Oman for the development financing for the JW Marriott Hotel Project within the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) precinct and part of phase one of the emerging Madinat Al Irfan Urban Development by Omran. The financing agreement, which is valued at RO38mn, was formalised in a signing ceremony held at the OCEC.
The agreement was signed by Eng Saif Al Hinai, Omran’s acting CEO and Saad Musa Al Jenaibi, general manager of QNB Oman, in an event attended by senior officials from Omran and QNB.
Saif Al Hinai noted, “The agreement was part of the financial model pursued by Omran whereby private institutions work hand-in-hand with the government on commercial projects. This development, once completed, will stand as the most prestigious and exclusive of the quartet of hotels planned for the OCEC precinct. The hotel will offer unprecedented levels of luxury, class and service whilst adding significant guest capacity to the hospitality offering in OCEC as well as Muscat as a whole.”
Since opening in October 2016, OCEC has successfully hosted 55 regional and international events, building a solid global reputation in the MICE sector. The the five-star JW Marriott is part of the up and coming Madinat Al Irfan development which is set to become the new urban hub in Muscat. The hotel opening, slated for the end of 2017, is a proof point of Omran’s commitment to further develop the Sultanate’s burgeoning tourism sector.
Operated under the JW Marriott brand, the hotel includes state-of-the-art food and beverage outlets, meeting facilities and a health and leisure club. Once completed, it will add an additional 304 keys to hotel offerings in the Sultanate. As with all projects under construction by Omran and within OCEC, the hotel is being built according to the highest standards of environmental sustainability and is designed to meet the criteria for the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Commenting on the ceremony, Mr. Saad Musa Al Jenaibi, General Manager of QNB Oman, said, “The Bank is proud to be associated with Omran for this prestigious development. Projects of national importance such as these are key towards the development of the hospitality sector and, in turn, foster economic growth and generate local employment. We endeavour to support the Sultanate’s objective of promoting the growth of the hospitality sector and the diversification of the nation’s economy. This valuable partnership is a clear representation of that support.”
Highlighting the high levels of mutual cooperation with the private sector, Eng. Saif Al Hinai, Acting CEO of Omran noted, “This agreement represents a milestone for our partnership with QNB as well as the banking sector in the Sultanate as a whole. We are pleased to join hands with QNB for this development, which is major component of the landmark OCEC project.”
He added, “New development funding arrangements such as these reflect the growing number of opportunities for private sector equity involvement and the rise of mutual partnerships, and indeed we are currently finalising a new investment strategy at Omran that capitalises on these emerging opportunities for tourism development. By taking a position in projects such as these, private sector investors benefit not only from favourable future returns, they are also playing a key role in building capacity to support the rapidly growing tourism and travel sector in Oman.”
Once complete, the OCEC, part of phase one of Madinat Al Irfan Urban Development, will include four hotels, a business park, and a retail shopping mall in addition to the Convention Centre Precinct.
The OCEC precinct plays a key role in the Government’s strategy to diversify the national economy and stands as the centrepiece of Oman’s business development programme. The business and urban precinct will position the Sultanate as a major venue for regional and international events and in doing so, will increase Oman’s business tourism offerings and strengthen the sector at large.
OCEC was conceptualised right from the beginning to be a fully integrated convention precinct; one that will play a central role in the government’s drive towards the growth of the tourism sector. The precinct as a whole is expected to attract over 600,000 visitors a year. The JW Marriott, together with the Crowne plaza and the two additional planned hotels, will go a long way in facilitating the needs of such a significant number of visitors to the capital region.