Bahrain focuses on USPs

Al Jaradah Island in Bahrain

TOURISM occupies an important position in Bahrain’s growth strategy and the sector has grown to be one of the fundamental pillars of the national economy.

Following a very successful 2018, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) will continue to focus this year on its efforts to develop new projects in line with its long-term tourism strategy under the umbrella of the ‘Ours.Yours’ campaign.

As part of the strategy, BTEA plans to develop unique tourism products and experiences that set Bahrain apart from its competitors, while focusing on family tourism and making the sector one of the main contributors to the national economy and the kingdom’s 2030 Economic Vision.

“Our collaborative efforts resulted in a record high number of overnight visitors, visitor spending and a significant increase in attendance at our events and festivals last year compared to the year before,” says Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, BTEA chief executive officer.

BTEA’s statistics reveal that the total tourist nights booked between January and September 2018 was 9.8 million, an increase of 22.3 per cent compared to the same period last year, while the average length of stay reached 2.8 nights per tourist, an increase of 18.9 per cent.

“These statistics are a testament to the BTEA’s success in implementing its long-term strategy and achieving one of the main strategic pillars, which relies on enhancing its economic contribution to the national economy as a whole,” says Shaikh Humood.

BTEA’s focus is on four main pillars - awareness, attraction, access and accommodation. This includes improving the overall accessibility of Bahrain; attracting exhibitions and conferences; enhancing the quality of services in the tourism and hospitality sectors; and strengthening the position of the kingdom as an ideal tourist destination for families and international tourists.

BTEA has also strengthened its presence across the world through its representative offices in Saudi Arabia, India, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting from destinations outside of the region,” he notes.

Bahrain, in a bid to draw more visitors to its shores, is making massive investments in various projects, including new beaches, a new exhibition centre, expansion of the airport and a unique underwater theme park.

“Once the new airport comes into play, it will have a direct impact on the expansion of the tourism sector, and we are bound to see a surge in inbound visitors from all corners of the world,” continues Shaikh Humood.

As part of its focus on growing Bahrain’s MICE potential, BTEA is building a 149,000-sq-m exhibition centre near the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

“At BTEA, we aim to strengthen ties with key MICE industry stakeholders in order to further develop this crucial business sector of Bahrain. BTEA is working to attract prominent international events and strengthen the position of Bahrain as an important business destination regionally and internationally,” he says.

Meanwhile, the new state-of-the-art airport is expected to be complete this year, elevating the infrastructure and services of Bahrain International Airport. It will accommodate up to 14 million passengers per year.

As part of a strategy to develop unique tourism products and experiences, Bahrain will open the world’s largest underwater theme park this summer. The unique diving and eco-friendly project covers an area of over 100,000 sq m and feature the largest submerged airplane in the world, a 70-metre long decommissioned Boeing 747, as its centrepiece.

“We are proud to launch this unique eco-friendly project in partnership with local diving companies and in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Environment and the private sector. This initiative aims at reviving the kingdom’s marine ecosystem and preserving its local marine environment. The park will undoubtedly be a global tourist attraction,” observes Shaikh Humood.

In support of the kingdom’s tourism initiatives, Gulf Air, the national airline, has announced the launch of new stopover travel packages, designed to promote Bahrain as a tourist destination on a global scale.

* Find BTEA on stand ME1410