At Bahrain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), has drawn up a six-step strategy to promote Bahrain as a key tourist destination.
This includes developing and selling packages though a multi-channel approach including new e-kiosks, improving its excursions and tours in co-operation with the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), further developing Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) business, and upselling leisure products to delegates, says Benjo Van Laarhoven, general manager of Atbahrain.
The destination management firm will leverage on Bahrain’s events calendar, conduct roadshows in key markets in co-operation with the BTEA and the Economic Development Board (EDB), and further develop ties with both traditional distributors such as travel agents and tour operators as well as new B2B partners such as credit card firms, banks, telcom and technology companies, he adds.
Laarhoven says Atbahrain will join hands with its key partners BTEA, EDB and Gulf Air and create full-fledged FIT and GIT packages for its defined source markets of Saudi Arabia, the rest of the GCC, Schengen countries, Russia and India.
The company will partner with key tour operators regionally and globally.
Atbahrain was launched at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) last year, and it kicked off operations by hosting a large group of athletes on a fully packaged deal for the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, which was being held in Bahrain for the very first time.
This year, Atbahrain has made arrangements to bring more than 500 non-GCC visitors for next month’s Formula One race – and is hopeful of hitting the 1,000-mark, says Laarhoven.
'We have also presented our first packages to travel agencies and tour operators in several countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia and India,' he adds.
Laarhoven says Bahrain has several attractive points that make it a destination of choice including 6,000 years of cultural heritage, a very approachable and friendly community and easy accessibility in addition to the advantage of being an island that offers a wealth of watersports.
'We have everything available to wow our guests, now we have to connect the dots,' he says, adding that the government and private sector have to 'work hand in hand to convey our message in our key markets'.
'We need to organise integrated campaigns to engage consumers through new media as well as the traditional travel trade,' Laarhoven says, adding that the industry should focus on selling the destination and not just their properties, products or services.
Bahrain is unique in many ways that should instil a sense of pride and confidence among its stakeholders, he says.
To counter the current market downtown, Atbahrain is now vigorously promoting the Formula One race as well as reaching out to new markets such as India.
'We are Bahrain’s leading destination management company and with our management partner Desert Adventures Kuoni, we have the knowledge and resources to present Bahrain to 150 countries across the world,' Laarhoven says.
'We create products with our partners for our partners and are touch with several players including Visit Bahrain to join hands where it makes sense. Atbahrain connects the dots in the travel arena with the objective of selling Destination Bahrain.'
By K S Sreekumar
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
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