As part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Blessed Renaissance, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Bank Muscat marked the completion of the Misfat al Abriyeen heritage tourism project. Located in the wilayat of Al Hamra, the project was initiated in 2019 by the bank in line with its commitment to partner in sustainable development and promotion of national goals.
The virtual opening ceremony was held under the auspices of H E Eng Ibrahim Said al Kharusi, Undersecretary for Heritage Affairs in the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, in the presence of Sheikh Waleed K al Hashar, CEO of the bank, and several senior officials.
The Misfat heritage tourism project was based on a study originally commissioned by the bank, following a detailed presentation by ArChiam, the interdisciplinary architecture forum at the University of Liverpool, UK. This unique tourism project highlights a sustainable development model that benefits local communities and strengthens the country’s environment and cultural heritage.
Based on international specifications, it included the restoration of the main gate of Misfat al Abriyeen while preserving its original features. The restoration of a number of old mud houses was also done so as to set up a restaurant to serve authentic Omani cuisine to visitors. Vehicle parking facilities, a tourist information centre and office, a souvenir shop and signage leading to the tourist spot were also developed as part of the project.
The project will give a significant boost to heritage tourism and help in the sustainable development of Al Hamra and the surrounding areas. It will be operated by the Al Misfat al Ahlia Company, a local SME set up by young Omani entrepreneurs, in line with the government’s vision to develop SMEs.
On this occasion, H E Eng Kharusi said, “The project was successfully completed with the close cooperation and partnership between the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Bank Muscat. The completion of this project will have a great impact on cultural and heritage tourism and will greatly benefit the local community and entrepreneurs of the region.”
On his part, Hashar said, “We are very pleased to inaugurate the landmark Misfat al Abriyeen project, which has greatly contributed to the further development of Public-Private partnership. The bank has been keenly implementing many sustainable programmes and activities in line with its social responsibility. We would particularly like to thank the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and the implementation team for their support.”
Hashar also thanked the Al Misfat al Ahlia Company, the sheikhs and people of the region for their support and enthusiasm for the project. “We hope that this project will serve as a major attraction in developing heritage tourism in the country and benefit the sultanate’s economy.”
During the opening ceremony, Hosni bin Mubarak al Abri, chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Misfah al Ahlia Company, thanked the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Bank Muscat. He stressed that the project would enrich local tourism and bring multiple benefits to the local community, while also preserving authentic Omani identity, architecture and heritage.