Bahrain set to double tourism activity

Sheikh Salman

ON the eve of the biggest tourist event in Bahrain, the Formula One – or to give it its full name the Gulf Air Grand Prix 2006 – the island country has launched a major initiative to double the contribution of the tourism industry to the gross domestic product (GDP) in the next two years.

Crown Prince, BDF Commander-in-Chief and Economic Development Board (EDB) chairman Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said the tourism sector's current contribution to Bahrain’s GDP – currently between five to six per cent – is expected to increase to more than 10 per cent in two years.
“We have taken a series of measures to promote the tourism sector, including the setting up of a government committee, headed by the Works and Housing Minister Fahmi Al Jowder, to conduct a study on further boosting tourism,' Sheikh Salman told delegates at the Gulf Investment and Tourism Forum, which was held at the Gulf Hotel’s Gulf International Convention and Exhibition Centre last month. “The committee, which will prepare a comprehensive strategy to increase the sector’s contribution to Bahrain’s GDP, will present its report later this year.”
On the government’s decision to establish an independent tourism body, he said the relevant law was being discussed by parliament. “As soon as parliament approves it, the new body will be established to give a new direction to our tourism industry,” he said.