Oman set to spur ‘residential tourism’

AN expatriate or foreigner will soon be able to own property/real estate – on a freehold basis – in Oman’s integrated tourism-designated areas, said a report.

Such foreign owners will also be given residential status. “Both the buyer and his relatives of the first degree will be allowed to reside in the Sultanate,” tourism undersecretary Mohsin bin Khamis Al Balushi said. “If some foreigner is buying the property, he, his wife and children will be granted residential visas. Separate visas will be introduced and they will be very flexible and suitable for the foreign visitor or freeholder.”
He said the private sector and international companies would be delighted with the decision as they have been waiting for it to be implemented. This foreign ownership has been allowed to promote inward investment and encourage residential tourism, he added. The Ministry of Housing, Water and Electricity has issued a decree to this effect recently. The law allows individuals – expatriates and foreigners and corporate entities – to own real estate in designated tourism-related areas, for residential or investment purposes.
Comparing the law with other countries, Mohsin said in the report that most countries had only 99-year lease schemes. “So, in terms of the soul and essence, it is different. What we have here is totally freehold – you own it. And your inheritors will own it and so on, forever. Also, the property is yours and your children and your grandchildren (depending on your will). And the feature of automatic visas to the buyer and his wife and children are also unique to this law,” Mohsin said. “We had reviewed similar laws and we tried to make sure that it is unique on one hand and encouraging on the other.”