26 July 2017

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Bahrain on track to achieve $1bn target
April 2017 1805

The tourism industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $1 billion by 2020.

Bahrain witnessed an 8.4 per cent increase in inbound traffic in the third quarter of 2016 and a peak of 1.4 million arrivals during the month of August. With the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA) spearheading a robust marketing campaign, the Kingdom expects to welcome 15.8 million annual visitors by 2018. This will represent an increase of 36.2 per cent on current figures and will place the country’s tourism industry on track to reach its $1 billion 2020 target.

This phenomenal growth will be driven primarily by the leisure sector, which should rise in terms of value by 4.3 per cent per annum to BD1.2 billion ($3.18 billion) in 2026. While business arrivals will generate BD219.3 million ($581.6 million) per annum by 2026.

As activity continues to increase, GDP contributions from tourism will also rise, from the 10.6 per cent contribution witnessed in 2015 to a predicted 13 per cent contribution towards GDP in 2026.

The news comes as inbound investment into Bahrain’s tourism infrastructure reaches new heights. From funding totalling BD105.3 million in 2015 – representing 5.3 per cent of total investment that year – investment is expected to reach BD217.9 million in 2026, which will be 8.6 per cent of the national total.

The $1.1 billion Airport Modernisation Programme (AMP) at Bahrain International Airport will double capacity from 7 million to 14 million passengers per year, by Q2 2020.

STR Global estimates that there is currently, 12,641 rooms and a pipeline of 4,187 rooms, an increase of 33.1 per cent in hotel stock over the coming years.

To drive the expected demand, BTEA’s plans for 2017 include capitalising on the leisure market, particularly the heritage and cultural aspects, regenerating beaches, targeting cruise passengers, as well as the opening of Avenues Bahrain Mall.

Earlier this year, BTEA appointed Aviareps in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and China to drive growth to proactively coordinate and develop the authority’s media relations, press events and familiarisation trips, and organising road shows and seminars in Central Europe and China.

Yousef AlKhan, director of marketing and tourism promotion at BTEA, said, “BTEA took a huge step forward by introducing its new brand ‘Ours.Yours. Bahrain’ at the World Travel  Market in London in November 2016. We are now showcasing our new brand outside of the region. ‘Ours.Yours.Bahrain‘ embraces the generosity and hospitality of our people, which visitors will surely feel when they come to Bahrain. Through Brand Bahrain, we are hoping to place Bahrain on the world map by not only showcasing its authentic culture and heritage but also the harmonious blend of an old and modern, business-friendly world.”

In a separate interview with Stewart Smith Senior, director of sales Middle East and Africa for Sojern, it was revealed that Bahrain has been receiving increased travel intent from European travellers.

In fact, France and Spain have both moved up six places to enter the top ten origins for Bahrain this year. Germany moves from sixth to fourth position and the UK holds strong as the top origin.


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