Work is currently underway on the construction of the Oman Botanic Garden, which will be the largest of its kind in the Arabian Peninsula. The Sultanate has reportedly spent $175 million on the project due to be completed by 2023 as part of the country's plans to diversify its economy away from oil in line with Oman's Vision2040.
The garden in the capital Muscat at the foot of Al-Hajar Mountains "will be one of the largest botanic gardens in the world," announced the Minister of Heritage and Tourism, Salim Al-Mahrouqi, earlier this month. "It will present an opportunity for visitors to experience the flora and vegetation of Oman while learning about the agricultural heritage, rich cultural traditions and legendary hospitality of the country."
Covering 420 hectares, the garden will include two biomes filled with endangered flora as well as a visitor centre, play area, nature reserve and educational and research facilities. The design of the garden is being led by the British firms Arup, Grimshaw Architects and Haley Sharpe Design.
"The Oman Botanic Garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance," said Keith Brewis, a partner at Grimshaw. "The scale and diversity is truly world-leading."
While the country's tourism sector largely depends on visitors going to Salalah in the south, renowned for its lush, green landscapes during the monsoon season, the impact of the pandemic led to a dramatic fall in the number of tourists last year, with numbers continuing to fall in 2021. However, it is hoped that the garden will encourage more people to visit Oman, especially the capital.