MUSCAT, 21 January 2019
Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, in line with its vision ‘To serve you better, everyday’ and commitment to partnership in sustainable development, signed an agreement with the Ministry of Tourism and Al Misfat Al Ahlia company to launch a landmark tourism development project in Misfat Al Abriyeen in the wilayat of Al Hamra. The agreement initiated as part of the bank’s Imprints CSR programme was signed at the bank’s head office in the presence of H.E Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism, Sheikh Waleed Al Hashar, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Muscat, senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Management Team members of the bank.
The agreement to develop old Misfat village, which is a major tourist attraction, was signed by Eng. Zaher Bin Hamad Al Riyami, Director General of Tourism Development at the Ministry of Tourism, Sheikha Al Farsi, Chief Strategy and Corporate Services Officer of Bank Muscat, and Husni Bin Mubarak Al Abri, Chairman of Al Misfat Al Ahlia company entrusted to manage the project.
H.E Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi said that Misfat Al Abriyeen is one of the most important Omani villages for heritage and cultural tourism. The signing of the agreement to launch the tourism development project falls within the framework of sustainable development. The project will create a unique tourism experience centred on the old Misfat village, highlighting Omani tourism strategy based on a sustainable development model that benefits local communities with preservation of the environment and cultural heritage.”
The Ministry of Tourism conducted a comprehensive study in 2015 on the cultural heritage of the village and investment potential to develop a sustainable tourism project in cooperation with stakeholders in the private sector and the local community. The Ministry of Tourism and Bank Muscat commissioned a study by the University of Liverpool, UK, based on which the project is being launched.
The Minister of Tourism appreciated Bank Muscat's efforts in providing distinguished banking services and initiatives that fall within the scope of social responsibility and wished success to the bank and the project to contribute to the development march in the country.
Bank Muscat is financing Misfat Al Abriyeen project as part of its Imprints CSR initiative launched in 2016 in celebration of the Sultanate’s 46th National Day. The main components of the project include restoration of the main gate of Misfat Al Abriyeen, preserving its original features. Restoration of some old mud houses will be done to set up a restaurant and bakery serving authentic Omani cuisine for tourists and visitors. Vehicle parking facility, tourist information centre and office, souvenir shop and signage leading to the tourist spot will be developed. The project will be completed within eight months to one year.
Al Misfat Al Ahlia company set up by local promoters has been entrusted with the project, which will serve as a long-term investment benefit, creating new employment opportunities for local youth and business opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Sheikh Waleed Al Hashar, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Bank Muscat is proud to be the pioneer of CSR activities in the banking sector in Oman. As the leading bank in the Sultanate, Bank Muscat is at the forefront in contributing to society and thereby setting a fine example to develop social responsibility as corporate culture. The signing of Misfat Al Abriyeen project as part of the Imprints initiative underscores the bank’s commitment to complementing government efforts in sustainable development. With benchmark social and environmental dimensions, the initiative marks a big step in the public-private partnership to make lasting contributions to society and the nation.”
Sheikha Al Farsi, Chief Strategy and Corporate Services Officer, said: “Aimed at enhancing tourist infrastructure and contributing to sustainable development, Bank Muscat is proud to join hands with the Ministry of Tourism and sign the Misfat Al Abriyeen project agreement. In step with the government’s economic diversification programme, the initiative is aimed at supporting start-ups and encouraging Omani entrepreneurship in the tourism industry. The project encourages Omani youth to focus on providing basic amenities at Oman’s tourist attractions, thereby ensuring sustainable sources of income for the local community. The project will contribute to promoting tourism and creating job opportunities for SMEs and the local community.”
During the ceremony, Sheikh Dr. Mahmoud Al Abri delivered a speech on behalf of the residents of Misfat Al Abriyeen and thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Bank Muscat for their efforts and support for the implementation of the project, stressing the importance of the initiative in the development of local communities. The project will give a significant boost to tourism as well as sustainable development in the wilayat of Al Hamra, he added.