Muscat: Oman is all set to add yet another dimension to its tourism portfolio in the form of a huge lagoon in Barka that will be developed by Crystal Lagoons Corp., the creator of giant crystalline lagoons in the world.
The four-hectare lagoon will be built within the Barka Resort on the shores of the Sea of Oman, which is being developed by the Alargan International Real Estate Company.
The project is scheduled to break ground between the third and fourth quarter of 2014 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2015, Crystal Lagoons CEO Kevin P. Morgan told the Times of Oman.
Morgan said the development will help accentuate the exquisite beauty of Barka, which is emerging as a tourist resort.
"The Crystal Lagoons phase of the project will cater to both, local residents and tourists, in Oman.
Crystal Lagoons will allow visitors to experience the beachfront lagoon where they can enjoy all sorts of water sports and activities such as swimming, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and so on," he said.
He added, "The Crystal Lagoons concept creates an idyllic beach environment, whether it is on existing beaches that may not be suitable for swimming, inland and urban locations or even deserts. These are some examples of where Crystal Lagoons has been able to develop lagoons of unlimited scope at low construction and maintenance costs.
"Our experience has shown that Crystal Lagoons adds tremendous value to any destination's tourism proposition by attracting large numbers of visitors who will create demand for accommodation and food and beverage."
Crystal Lagoons is currently building the world's largest crystalline man made lagoon in Dubai.
Asked why Crystal Lagoons chose to partner with Alargan, Morgan said it was because of their solid track record of delivering world class real estate developments.
"Many international companies are already involved in development projects in Barka, worth an estimated $15 billion. Its location is ideal, less than an hour west of Muscat. We are confident that our association with Alargan will result in a truly unique project for residents and visitors to Oman to enjoy for generations to come."
According to Alargan's website, Barka Resort, a master-planned development located 20 minutes from Muscat, will consist of various residential units, commercial areas and four hotels developed over four phases. The project encompasses a mixed-use resort style community that, in addition to the crystalline lagoon, will include three five-star and one four-star hotels, besides shopping malls incorporating a traditional and a modern souq.
Crystal Lagoons CEO said that the company's project in Barka Resort will draw a large number of visitors, particularly from Muscat and will certainly help promote Oman as a tourist destination. He did not comment on the cost of the project.
"Oman has fantastic natural beauty. Desert safaris, wadi-bashing, camping, climbing and rambling are all popular leisure pursuits which Crystal Lagoons by contrast will actually complement. It is also only about 250km to the Hatta border crossing into Dubai, and the Barka development will give the UAE residents another reason to visit Oman.
"It will also push the case still further for tour operators to broaden potential two-centre packages — Dubai-Muscat," Morgan concluded.
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