In brief


Iraq to boost religious tourism
Baghdad: Iraqi government officials said they plan to boost religious tourism, and warned of the illegal pilgrims sneaking into the country from neighbouring Iran.

'We are working to revive the tourism industry, especially religious tourism,' Culture Minister Mofeed Al Jaziari said at a seminar at a Baghdad hotel.
Al Jaziari, who represents the Iraqi Communist Party in the interim government, said officials planned to give private companies greater freedom to organise tours to religious sites, and would offer tax incentives to such operators.
He called for greater investment for the upgrading of tourist facilities and infrastructure.

Bahrain airport passenger record 
Manama: A record 362,493 passengers travelled through Bahrain International Airport last month, said a report.
The October figure was the highest ever for the month and can be compared with 346,565 passengers during October 2002.
Passenger figures for the period January to October 31 reached 3,575,402, a 2.5 per cent increase over 3,486,595 during the same period last year.

Training plan for Bahrainis in tourism
Manama: Tenders have been invited from institutes to train Bahrainis in travel and tourism jobs.
The move is part of a Labour and Social Affairs Ministry plan to achieve maximum Bahrainisation in the sector within two years.
Quotations for training programmes are being invited to identify the most competent trainer in these areas, said manpower development director Ahmed Al Banna.
Tender documents are available at the manpower development directorate located on the first floor of the ministry premises. The closing date is December 9.

New airlines show Gulf tourism growth
Dubai: Two airlines just launched in the UAE are the latest sign of bullish growth plans in the Gulf, where analysts say big state budgets and rising demand contrast sector-wide gloom.
The newcomers, Al Etihad and Air Arabia are starting small but are expected to help diversify the Gulf's airlines sector, opening opportunities for airlines and planemakers.
'Segmentation is the key. If the market is properly segmented then there is enough room,' BNP Paribas airlines analyst Nick van den Brul said.

German pavilion at Global Village
Dubai: Germany is to host a pavilion at Global Village 2004, part of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), for the first time.
The pavilion will be one of eight new participants at the event, taking the total number of countries represented to 38. Global Village, managed by DSF and Dubai Festival City, will take place from January 15 to February 15 throughout the DSF.
The pavilion will be bringing the traditions and cultures of Germany to life with a huge projector screen featuring rolling images of key cities, German seasons, major sporting events and much more.