Muscat: One of the global hotel industry's highest fliers has vowed to protect Oman's coastline, as a $600 million Integrated Tourism Complex moves forward.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for Saraya Bandar Jissah on Thursday, Gerald Lawless, Jumeirah Group president and CEO, said that his company would be environmentally conscious throughout their construction on the property.
"We also believe that tourism is a force for good. Apart from economic vitality, it strengthens intercultural understanding and is a socially responsible business. Therefore, we look forward to engaging the local communities as we develop the new resort.
"We promise to take great care of the local environment to ensure that we integrate seamlessly within the ecosystem of this pristine coastline," pledged Lawless.
With a focus on delivering Oman's most luxurious development, the Saraya Bandar Jissah project will provide two five-star hotels with 318 rooms, including a beachfront ballroom for weddings and events, international cuisine restaurants and sports activities, including a dive centre. These facilities will be managed by the Jumeirah Group and Lawless said he looked forward to high occupancy rates.
"Oman is a safe destination, which is truly representative of Arabic hospitality," said Lawless.
"This wonderful country boasts a strongly developed tourism infrastructure, including cultural, beach and adventure tour options, excellent year-round weather, luxurious hotels and resorts and world-class airports offering seamless connectivity."
This luxury resort will feature the finest of Arabian hospitality and the world-famous Jumeirah service culture, thereby setting a new standard for luxury tourism, Lawless added.
He said that the development is seeking to attract visitors, both in the leisure and business sectors. "The occupancy of these properties will be quite phenomenal because of the location."
"Oman has a very clear direction where it wants to go, as it is going for high-quality top-end tourism, and Jumeirah Group looks forward to further cooperation with Oman," said Lawless.
In an interview with Times of Oman on the sidelines of the groudbreaking, Wael Al Lawati, chief executive officer of Omran, called the project "carefully master-planned" and said that it could pave the way for the implementation of more such projects.
Asked if prayer facilities are included in the ITC, given that Omani and GCC nationals are potential clients, Al Lawati said such facilities will be available in hotels, and a mosque is expected to be built at the main entrance.
Responding to concerns of some environmentalists about the project, Al Lawati noted that there is always a tight balance between development and preservation of the environment. "The project has obtained environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment," he noted.
He added that the beach will not be open to the public, but it will be available for those who would like to use it on a daily basis through the hotels.