New laws to be drafted for Bahrain tourism
New laws are being drafted to clean up tourism in Bahrain, MPs were told.
The new tourism law will help make Bahrain a global holiday destination for families, said Information Minister Nabeel Al Hamer.
Measures will include zoning, to ensure that tourism attractions are kept away from residential areas, schools and religious places, he told parliament.
Al Hamer said Bahrain was trying its best to combat any indecent or immoral acts being committed under the guise of the tourism industry.
He was responding to a question by parliament's legislative and legal affairs committee vice-chairman Shaikh Abdulla Al A'ali on immoral violations in the tourism sector and the ministry's plans to combat it.
'Based on directives from His Majesty King Hamad, Bahrain's tourism sector has improved dramatically over the past two years,' said Al Hamer.
'Bahrain has adopted family, business, sport and cultural tourism and is dedicated to ensure that these are the only kinds of tourism on offer.'
Tourism is an important source of income for the kingdom and taking good care of it will also help decrease the unemployment problem, he said.
'The sector is highly active and through His Majesty's visions, it is believed that in no time Bahrain would become a destination for visitors from all around the world,' said Al Hamer.
Undercover inspectors are monitoring hotels to ensure that they obey the law, he said.
'Only folklore dances are offered at hotels, hotel show halls close at 2am instead of 3am, only one singer accompanied by three musicians are allowed on stage and unclean jungle bars have been closed,' said Al Hamer.
'Secret inspectors are present at these places throughout the week to monitor and report any violation.
'Tourism companies have been instructed to abide by the ministry rules and 10 tourism offices have been already closed for offences related to unclean tourism.'
A joint committee with hoteliers has been formed to develop a cleaner tourism industry, he said.
'Hotels have been instructed to shut down facilities which don't follow international criteria and to start opening family restaurants only,' said Al Hamer. 'An American company has been assigned to assess Bahrain's hotels according to international criteria.'
Shaikh Al A'ali said that having a tourism law in the country was something the ministry should have thought about several years ago.
'We always hear that Bahrain is trying its best to promote clean tourism, but what about Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram performing provocatively in front of families and children in Bahrain, days before Ramadan and in a residential area?' he said.