MECA-MoT pact to de­velop eco-tourism in na­ture re­serves

MECA has re­viewed reg­u­la­tions to sim­plify pro­ce­dures for in­vestors

Muscat Daily - - NATION - Our Cor­re­spon­dent Mus­cat

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs (MECA) has signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the Min­istry of Tourism (MoT) to de­velop eco­tourism in na­ture re­serves and open av­enues for in­vest­ments.

H E Mo­hammed bin Salim bin Said al Toobi, Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs, said that 30 days is the max­i­mum pe­riod for is­suance of an en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit for large projects.

He added that all the ser­vices of the min­istry and per­mits are now di­rected through elec­tronic win­dow and linked with Min­istry of Com­merce and In­dus­try’s In­vest Easy por­tal.

H E Toobi fur­ther said that the min­istry has re­viewed sev­eral laws and reg­u­la­tions in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate and sim­plify pro­ce­dures for the in­vestors. “The sul­tanate is one of the first coun­tries in the re­gion to set en­vi­ron­men­tal re­quire­ments for de­vel­op­ment projects as well as sup­port­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.”

A com­mit­tee in­volv­ing MECA and MoT was formed ear­lier this year to pre­pare strate­gies and plans re­lated to the de­vel­op­ment of eco-tourism in na­ture re­serves across Oman. The com­mit­tee aims to de­velop stan­dards for pro­tec­tion and con­ser­va­tion of wildlife, her­itage, nat­u­ral re­sources, tourism di­ver­sity and ex­ploita­tion of these re­sources in a sus­tain­able way.

It is also look­ing to in­volve lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in the de­vel­op­ment and the preser­va­tion of re­sources, in ad­di­tion to pre­par­ing guide­lines for eco-tourism and sus­tain­able man­age­ment of na­ture re­serves.

In April, MoT said that two in­vestors have shown in­ter­est to de­velop a wildlife re­serve in South Shar­qiyah and a ge­o­log­i­cal won­der in Al Wusta.

H E Ahmed bin Nasser bin Ha­mad al Mehrzi, Min­is­ter of Tourism, said that the min­istry has re­ceived a re­quest from a Kuwaiti in­vestor to de­velop the Al Saleel Wildlife Re­serve in the wilayat of Al Kamil W’al Wafi in South Shar­qiyah.

The min­istry has also re­ceived a re­quest from a lo­cal in­vestor to de­velop the Rock Gar­den in Duqm, Al Wusta gov­er­norate with an aim to pre­serve its unique rocks and ge­o­log­i­cal his­tory.

H E Mehrzi added that in­vest­ments in Al Saleel and Rock Gar­den are go­ing to be among the first pri­vate sec­tor in­volve­ment in a na­ture re­serve and an area of ge­o­log­i­cal im­por­tance.

File photo of Al Wusta na­ture re­serve

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