Bahrain bets on tourism to revive economy |

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MANAMA – Bahrain has stepped up its bets to make the tourism sector one of the most important locomotives of growth and development in the future as part of its overall economic vision to diversify sources of income and production.

Through the reform program, the government seeks to take advantage of the competitive advantages of tourism and the incentives it provides both in terms of the availability of qualified national cadres and the temptations of the encouraging investment environment.

The Economic Development Board, the country's investment promotion body, has unveiled plans to launch an integrated strategy to boost the sector.

"This year, the focus is on the development of the tourism sector and attracting hotels, tourists and companies working in this field," the official Bahrain News Agency [BNA] quoted Khalid Al Rumaihi as saying.

He attributed the reason to the volume of funds invested in the sector as well as the quality of the jobs offered, compared to other sectors, including financial technology.

The strategy aims to increase the contribution of tourism to the overall economic activity of the country within the next two years through the development of laws and procedures in force.

According to data from the Tourism and Exhibition Authority, the movement of arrivals to the country through its various outlets, especially the wild, increased by about 5 percent last year, with an annual comparison to reach 9.1 million visitors.

Official estimates indicate that tourism's contribution to GDP currently ranges between 8 and 10 percent a year, but Manama has ambitions to improve those indicators

Manama is looking to activate a wide range of initiatives to accelerate investment growth with a plan that includes highly competitive sectors including tourism, leisure, industry, transportation, logistics, financial services and technology.

To implement its program, the state has allocated $ 15 billion to implement new projects expected to be launched by 2024, including 22 new hotels.

Khalid Al-Rumaihi: The focus is on developing tourism by attracting investments
Khalid Al-Rumaihi: The focus is on tourism development through attracting investments

Bahrain is one of the poorest countries in the Gulf with oil resources and currently produces 200,000 barrels of crude per day. In July, it announced the discovery of gas reserves off its coasts ranging from 10 to 20 trillion cubic feet.

Experts stress the importance of the steps taken by Manama to encourage and stimulate the business sector, especially in the field of tourism and facilitate investment procedures for entrepreneurs as it promotes economic growth rates of the small Gulf state.

Recently, several indicators have emerged that confirm the government's approach in its development process to increase the contribution of this sector.

Bahrain was one of the most important international tourism exhibitions held in late May in Frankfurt, Germany.

During the exhibition, Manama reviewed the historical and recreational attractions of the city and its modern infrastructure, which is capable of attracting international exhibitions and conferences, especially with the completion of the new exhibition center 2021.

There are other indicators that reflect the volume of efforts to develop the resources of the sector and to promote Bahrain as a tourist destination in general and to benefit from being one of the most important attractions of the Gulf families.

Visitors to the country are particularly popular with family and entertainment brands, especially those coming from Saudi Arabia, which further energizes the wheel rotation of hospitality and hotel facilities.

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities has indicated that the number of tourists who visited archaeological sites last year was 765 thousand tourists compared to 626 thousand tourists a year ago.

Among the tourist and archeological sites that Manama is working on are Al-Areen, Ras Sanad, Tubli Bay, Al-Hayat, Boumaher, Bahrain, Arad, Shaikh Salman Al-Fateh, Saar Cemeteries, Beit Issa Bin Ali House, Al Jasra House and Bahrain National Museum.

The figures also show that tourism is driving a rapid investment boom in the country thanks to the Economic Development Board's strategy to develop a competitive business environment.

Among the most important things that support Manama's bid for this vital sector is the completion of the Bahrain International Airport expansion project, which is expected to be operational by the end of this month.

The project is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year and comes as part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at developing the Kingdom's ports, especially the air.

The project, one of the top 100 in the world, is one of the largest infrastructure development projects in the country's history, as it will increase its capacity to 14 million passengers and cost more than $ 1.1 billion.

Official data released last March indicated a growth in the number of air travelers through Bahrain International Airport, including transients who used transit airport facilities by 17 percent on an annual basis.

The EDB expects tourism revenues to rise to more than $ 3 billion by next year.



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