Monday, May 10, 2010

Ministry of Tourism & Marina Bandar Rowdha management cripple Commercial Tourist Operators

Yes, while the sole hope for Oman's economy keeping up with the ballooning population and getting away from hydrocarbons is obviously SMEs (small to medium size enterprises), the increasingly incompetent Ministry of Tourism appear to have missed the memo.


Photo: The Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, Muscat. Great facility. Its management decided to kill off what few struggling Omani Tourist Operators there are.

The Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, the only decent wet marina in Oman right now and mainly owned by the Ministry of Tourism (plus the omni-present mega-conglomerate Zawawi Trading) have just decided to double the rents charged for large commercial tourist & charter boat operations based out of MBR.

A large dhow operation is now being charged 10,000 rials for a berth [USD$26,000], up from an already not inconsiderable 5,000 rials. Indeed, other tourist ports in Oman like Sur, Khasab and Sohar, charge nothing from similar outfits, and many of their staff are not even Omani, while in Muscat a vast majority are Omani locals. A similar place in Europe would be 50% of this, and this is hardly the Adriatic or Med.

Nice one team! What with the booming crippled tourism industry hit by the global recession and the relatively high prices compared to our tourist competitors, you'd have thought a subsidy would be more appropriate.

But no. One can only assume that with the Management of Marina Bandar Al Rowdha struggling to make a profit (despite being pretty full), and the collapse of the cunning plan to force the next-door Capital Area Yacht Club members to move there (oh, and requisition their land too), the commercial boats were a soft target as they can't go anywhere else.

For now. There is hope that they could move to Bar Al Jissa or The Wave later, but that could be a long time coming and the Marina Bandar Al Rowdha will probably set the bar.

Mr Saleem Q. Al Zawawi, Chairman of Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, and with vast experience successfully running an international standard Marina business, clearly is not a supporter of the plucky and predominantly Omani water-based tourist businesses operating from his establishment. These businesses are all pretty new, have very high Omanisation numbers, and were already struggling. His short-sighted decision could only have been made with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, who one might think actually knew something about the tourism industry and were tasked with supporting it. LMAOFOFL.

Score: Wasta - 1, Omani SMEs - 0

How unusual.

15 comments:

  1. How am i not suprised! Greed, lack of Intelligence and incompetence rule the day again. Keep up the good work MOT.

    (p.s what's with the ever increasing grocery prices!? Surely another act of greed!?)

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  2. I didn't realize the Marina were MoT and Zawawi!

    Unbelievable. No wonder they were after CAYC.

    Sailor Boy

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  3. As economic advisor to HE Maqbool bin Ali Sultan Al Lawati one would expect Saleem Qassim Al Zawawi to know exactly what a berth is worth.
    Who can tell what a berth at the Yacht Club would have been worth if Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha Abdul Ameer Ali Al Lawati had obtained the land for.......
    Oh – isn’t the news about British Passports and Qatar intriguing

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  4. Dear Dragon,

    Owning a boat my self and with my humble marina clubbing experience in Bahrain, I have noticed that the Marina club doesn't make a lot of money from the boats. Rather, the club makes it from the supporting facilities it offers, such as (fueling, Engine Overhauling, painting, etc) in addition to all of that we shouldn't forget the the food and beverage and the retail element of the club it self...

    All in all, I think its an uneducated decision... that normal I guess in our part of the world hasty decision without the thinking of the consequences!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Queen of IrelandMay 11, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    How long will it be before MBR increase the membership fees for the non-commercial members as well?
    Smaller boats are already being squeezed into tiny berths to make way for the gin-palaces. The berthing charges certainly do not reflect the salaries of the boat boys. No wonder they spend their time sitting in their air conditioned cabin rather than assisting boat owners!

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  6. ah White Tiger - the phrase 'Rentier Economy ' and its attitudes, springs to mind when considering the decision

    ReplyDelete
  7. nolongerveryoptimisticMay 11, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    The MOT also set up their own MBAR based sea tour operations in direct competition with the independants already trying to eke a living from the dwindling customer base. A clear indication that the MOT has little real interest in their mandate and will stoop to any level to get their grubby little hands on every bit of cash available to them - either by monopolisation through unfair competition, manipulation of permissions or simply the more traditional practice of brown bag shares!

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  8. Why would you take issue with the Ministry of Tourism Operating Tourist products – look at the experience they have

    The Ministry’s super Yacht

    The Ministry’s semi submarine -

    The Ministry’s Youth Hostile owned by the Ministry but run by a ….UAE company who also run a single hotel behind the Adidas Factory Outlet in Al Ain UAE

    The Ministry’s 12 room eco Hotel and conference centre and exhibition operated by the Ministry subsidy OMRAN and opened managed by … a Lebanese company

    the year old issue Dragon blog Page on a similar issue

    Hoota Cave owned by the Ministry and managed by ….. a Lebanese company
    about Hoota cave

    Not certain if these are owned by the Ministry

    the new Car Ferries arrive in June 2008

    the latest news on 1st April 2010 that a Car ramp is being built

    ReplyDelete
  9. TWI

    Those links are all broken.... remove the www.blogger part and repost!

    D

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Ministry’s semi submarine -
    http://www.ameinfo.com/200268.html

    The Ministry’s Youth Hostile owned by the Ministry but run by a ....UAE company who also run a single hotel behind the Adidas Factory Outlet in Al Ain UAE
    http://www.flamingo-hotels.com/hotelsresorts-0.html

    The Ministry’s 12 room eco Hotel and conference centre and exhibition now operated by the Ministry subsidy OMRAN and opened & managed by ....a Lebanese company
    http://www.rasaljinz.org

    the year old issue Dragon blog Page on a similar issue
    Why would you take issue with the Ministry of Tourism operating tourist products – look at the experience they have

    The Ministry’s super yacht
    http://www.superyachts.com/news/exroyal-yacht-loaloat-al-behar-available-for-charter-391.htm

    The Ministry’s semi submarine -
    http://www.ameinfo.com/200268.html

    The Ministry’s Youth Hostile owned by the Ministry but run by a ....UAE company who also run a single hotel behind the Adidas Factory Outlet in Al Ain UAE
    http://www.flamingo-hotels.com/hotelsresorts-0.html

    The Ministry’s 12 room eco Hotel and conference centre and exhibition now operated by the Ministry subsidy OMRAN and opened & managed by ....a Lebanese company
    http://www.rasaljinz.org

    the year old issue Dragon blog Page on a similar issue
    muscatconfidential.blogspot.com/2009/06/ministry-of-tourism-putting-pressure-on.html

    Hoota Cave owned by the Ministry and managed by....a Lebanese company
    http://www.alhootacave.com/

    about Hoota cave
    http://www.showcaves.com/english/misc/showcaves/AlHoti.html

    Not certain if these are owned by the Ministry

    the new Car Ferries arrive in June 2008
    http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080604042758


    the latest news on 1st April 2010 that the ferry car ramp is being built
    http://www.nfcoman.com/en/PressRelease.aspx muscatconfidential.blogspot.com/2009/06/ministry-of-tourism-putting-pressure-on.html

    Hoota Cave owned by the Ministry and managed by....a Lebanese company
    http://www.alhootacave.com/

    about Hoota cave
    http://www.showcaves.com/english/misc/showcaves/AlHoti.html

    Not certain if these are owned by the Ministry

    the new Car Ferries arrive in June 2008
    http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080604042758


    the latest news on 1st April 2010 that the ferry car ramp is being built
    http://www.nfcoman.com/en/PressRelease.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  11. TWI- you shouldn't be so negative about the Ministry of Tourism's projects, instead we should concentrate on their successes: ------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------.
    Well I guess that's all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Abdullah

    you might say that
    but I couldnt possibly

    ReplyDelete
  13. The marina has an interesting history, starting out as a SAOG... The place was obviously not built by someone with marina experience & thus found itself struggling even to service its soft loan. Cynics might argue it was designed to take advantage of the softloan. the 1st thing that strikes you there; is the oversized sea wall, which even depreciated over 50 years would be a drag on a place that has a limited ability to generate revenue. After being lumped together with other "sick companies" the final decision was to nationalize. a slight hitch meant that the government had to pay 2 or 3 times what they wanted to because the major shareholders tried to bring in outside investors & started a bidding war. in the end the shareholders conceded at about half the initial value and all ceded their shares except for 1 person... at about the same time the current chairman got a job at MOCI & coincidently got put in charge...and thats how the marina got to its present state. Things were looking up briefly when the current management did at 1 point bring in a big marina managment co. owned by Donald Trump who had grand plans & wanted to invest, but I dont think that coincided with the chairmans vision. In the end lets hope competition helps bring this facility back under proffessional management.

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  14. Hmm well while I might agree with all of the REST of the above, there is no question that the marina wall, which was built to withstand the 'hundred year storm' over MUCH negativity, saved each and every boat in the Marina during Cyclone Gonu; only 6 boats sank and the basin filled to such an extent that another few centimetres of water inside the wall (had the storm gone on much longer) and each and every boat there would have smashed itself to pieces. But that wall was a lifesaver; not a white elephant ...

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  15. I fail to see how commercial Omani vessels should be changed one rate, whilst private vessels are charged another rate.

    Most marinas in the world charge for LOA (Length Over All), MBR however adds a "width" scale to this (usually this is only applied to Multi-Hulls), just to up the fees.

    With no in-house boat skills, no chandlery, inadequate berth fire protection, poor physical security and a hideous management policy it's amazing people use it at all.

    Oh but like so many things here, there is no option, for those who own vessels slightly larger than speedboats.

    A cynical person may argue it is because expats can not form a commercial company, and therefore this is a mechanism of applying a nationality based charging system;

    ReplyDelete

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