In a difficult regional market, Bahrain is doing its best to diversify the economy with tourism seen as an increasingly attractive and important income generation stream.
A new exhibition centre has been long awaited
CHASING THE TOURIST DOLLAR L
atest available figures, for the first quarter of 2019, show the Kingdom welcomed 3.2 million visitors, up 3.1 per cent on the same period in 2018 which, itself, saw a sixper-cent increase on 2017. Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) aims to grow this number to 15 million over the next three to four years. It’s a goal that HE Zayed Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, is confident can be achieved through the government working in partnership with the private sector. And this is already in process with the increase credited, at least in part, to various government initiatives such as the relaxation of entry visa rules a few years ago coupled with investment in infrastructure and encouragement of business travel. The ‘Bahrain Ours. Yours.’ campaign was launched by Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) in 2016 with the goals of: supporting investment in tourism infrastructure; protecting and increasing tourist arrivals (KSA and regionally); launching Bahrain Tourism internationally; unifying Bahrain’s tourism and hospitality sector under a single proposition; and increasing foreign direct investment in tourism. Developments that will have a huge impact 36 September 2019
include the expansions of both the airport and the Saudi causeway and the construction of the long awaited new national exhibition centre. Earlier this year it was reported that work on the airport was 80-per-cent complete with opening scheduled for the third quarter of 2019. The USD1.1 billion project will see a new
passenger terminal which will take the facility’s capacity to 14 million travellers per year. The development is timely in light of a surge in passenger numbers last year to 9 million. And, according to Telecommunications Minister, HE Kamal Ahmed, a second airport could be on the cards. He recently told
The airport is expanding along with Gulf Air’s offering
Vol.23 - Issue 9 - Your guide to a great way of life