Gulf Hotel to become resort in $6m boost

The Gulf Hotel ... set to become a city resort.

The Gulf Hotel in Bahrain is to be converted into a city resort under a BD2.5 million ($6.63 million) development plan.

The Bahrain Hotels Company (BHC), which owns the Gulf Hotel, announced a BD2.33 million profit for last year, up 17.3 per cent on the year before.

The company will invest BD 2.25 million this year to convert the hotel into a resort in the city, said board chairman Ibrahim Al Hamer.

This is despite the blow dealt to the global tourism and travel industry by the September 11 attacks in the US, he told the company's annual general meeting at the Gulf International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"BHC's overall gross operating revenues, including other operating income and rentals, and net profit in 2001, have exceeded those of 2000 despite the difficult trading circumstances in the last four months of the year," said Al Hamer.

"Gross operating revenue of BD13,324,185 exceeded the year 2000 by BD49,528.

"Profit from operations for 2001 of BD2,137,086 exceeded the year 2000 by BD 219,012. Net profit for the year exceeded 2000 by BD 343,296, or 17.3 per cent."

Al Hamer said the directors recommended a 20 per cent (BD1,696,896) dividend to the shareholders.

"The government's campaign to regenerate family tourism by regulating the entertainment sector effectively, together with the continued political stability in the region have contributed to the growth of the hospitality industry," he said.

"The private investment in the tourism sector has created a business environment in which the company should prosper. In particular, the continued influx of tourists from neighbouring GCC countries is expected to reach four million this year."

BHC will also be managing its first property outside Bahrain, with the opening of the Ocean Paradise Resort in Zanzibar in November this year, said Al Hamer.

BHC will continue to improve the Gulf Hotel's rooms and other facilities, said chief executive Mohammed Buzizi.

"The entire south wing of the hotel, comprising 130 rooms, will be renovated and upgraded to five-star standards at a cost of BD1.2 million," he said.

"The company is also investing BD450,000 to open a new Thai Seafood Restaurant, by October this year.

"The landscaping and upgrade of the swimming pool area will be completed by August at a cost of BD600,000, converting the hotel into a resort in the city, with a total of 366 rooms."

Buzizi said the Gulf Hotel would soon take over the management of Al Sawani Restaurant.