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THE SULTANATE IS PURSUING DEVELOPMENT AWAY FROM JUST OIL AND GAS BY FOCUSING ON THE DIVERSIFICATION OF THE ECONOMY, OMANISATION OF THE WORKFORCE AND INTERNATIONALIZATION OF BUSINESS
Pearl of the Persian Gulf opens up to tourism and industry

Oman combines Middle East tradition with international business, boosted by the recent FTA.

For the Sultanate of Oman, success is in the air. In the 1970s, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said opened up the country, instigated significant economic reforms, and boosted spending on health, education and welfare. His respected 36 years of reign have been called “The Renaissance”. Located at the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has a strategically important position at the mouth of the Gulf. The government has developed a plan, Vision 2020, to build on its rich history and create a diversified national economy with increased Omani employment. Using its oil revenues, modest by Middle Eastern standards, to finance its economic transformation and increase private and international enterprise, the Sultanate’s strategy focuses on three areas: agriculture, industry and tourism. Oman’s varied landscape supports a wide array of agricultural products, and it also gains revenue from its fishing sector. Industry is mainly centered on the mineral sector, as Oman has rich deposits of gold, copper, chromite, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, limestone, marble, and coal. Increased manufacturing, which would be export-oriented due to a small domestic market, would also reduce Oman's reliance on oil and gas for revenue.

MAQBOOL ALI SULTAN
MAQBOOL ALI SULTAN
Minister of Commerce and Industry

The tourism sector is booming, with hotels fully occupied and dedicated efforts to attract more international interest in developing the sector. Prices remain high since there is still more demand than supply, and Oman wants to target mainly high-class tourism to preserve its culture and reputation as a quality destination. Likewise, real estate is on the verge of exploding as carefully planned new developments make the Sultanate ever more desirable to foreign visitors and investors alike.

Sohar Industrial Estate has been named the fastest growing industrial complex in the world. With a synergy of industries complementing each other, supplying raw materials such as oil, gas, and minerals in a strategic location next to the Port of Sohar facilitating large-scale import and export, this dynamic new complex located halfway between Muscat and Dubai is seen as the engine of the new Omani economy.

A long-standing U.S. ally, Oman’s international relations received a boost this year with the successful completion of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two nations. This makes Oman the fifth Middle Eastern country to have negotiated an FTA with the U.S. Political stability free of upheavals over the past thirty-six years of steady rule by H.M. Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said has helped economic stability and progress, manifested in low interest rates, stable exchange rates and consistent monetary policy.