Visitor numbers ‘better than expected’ at Bahrain expo

Sheikha Mai presents Wafa with a memento

BAHRAIN International Travel Expo (BITE) saw numbers drop from 12,500 visitors in 2009 to 10,000 this year prompting a promise from organisers that the show will be back even better in 2011.

Jamil Wafa, chairman of Magnum Holdings, whose Magnum Events and Exhibitions Management (MEEM) organises the business-to-consumer show was philosophical about the decrease in visitors saying the situation was not actually as bad as he had predicted due to the economic climate.

“In all my pre-show publicity I predicted the worst because of the difficult economic climate and it’s true the show was smaller this year with less floor space, but the important thing is that we went ahead in spite of the economy and it was actually better than expected.

“The major players such as Bahrain Airport Company and the airlines played their part and supported us and we had Malta as a new addition which was encouraging.

“I am a fighter and I will not let a set back get to me, I am not promoting Jamil Wafa I am promoting Bahrain, this is something I want to continue to do for Bahrain’s travel community.”

The event was held under the patronage of Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Culture and Information, who hosted a gala dinner for participants during which she presented Wafa with an artwork in recognition of his efforts in promoting the island and its tourism industry.

He said: “I was very surprised and delighted to have been presented with this beautiful artwork. I would like to sincerely thank Sheikha Mai and all the people over the years who have helped to make BITE a success from the team at MEEM to the exhibitors and the media, who have always been supportive of the show, to the members of the public who attend each year.”