Bahrain to host 5m visitors in 2004

Bahrain’s F1 is attracting many fans

More than five million tourists are expected to visit Bahrain this year, thanks in part to this month’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. It will be the first time tourist numbers have crossed the five million mark.

The number of tourists to Bahrain last year was 4.84 million, a slight increase of one per cent over 2002, said tourism assistant under-secretary Mubarak Al Atwi.
“The number will cross five million this year, mainly due to the anticipated influx of visitors for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix,” he said. “We are making all efforts to make maximum number of hotel rooms available for visitors. Currently, there are 10,759 beds in a total of 88 hotels of different classes. Besides, there are 240 beds in two resorts and 1,863 beds in 29 furnished apartments.”
Al Atwi said five more hotels would be opened in Manama and the Seef area within two months. These are of three- and four-star categories.
The tourism industry in the Kingdom would become more organised when a Tourism Law comes into effect later in the year, he said.
The draft of the law is now being studied by Information Minister Nabeel Al Hamer. The views of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various government agencies were taken into consideration while preparing the draft, said Al Atwi. “There are various clauses in the law governing the affairs of tourism,” he added.
These include matters related to investment in tourism, covering time share projects, tourist guides and rules on running various tourism outlets.
The draft will be studied by the Parliament and the Shura Council before it is approved by the Cabinet and becomes a law, said Al Atwi.