Bahrain steps up efforts to tap tourism growth


Bahrain is determined to make the most of the anticipated growth in tourism, one of the fastest growing industries in the world, says a top tourism official.

And the government is taking serious measures to improve service quality, and to increase and develop recreational and leisure facilities.

The measures taken to boost tourism include facilitating entry for tourists, upgrading service infrastructure at historical sites, redefining hotel classification system and restricting licences for one to three star hotels.

Tourism Affairs Assistant Under-Secretary Dr Kadhem Rajab earlier last month announced a major campaign to regenerate family tourism, by cutting down the number of nightclubs and banning "cheap entertainment" in hotels.

Dr Rajab also said the government would promote cultural, historical and heritage sites to make the industry a strong pillar of the national economy.

Efforts would also be stepped up to stage more major conferences, trade exhibitions and sport events.

Foreign companies were in contact with the authorities to explore new opportunities to invest in tourism projects, particularly holiday resorts, he said.

The Government is also actively focusing on facilities for business travellers and is targeting the MICE/business sector with the objective of establishing the region as an alternative to Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Its patronage of the Arab International Business Travel and Meetings (AIBTM) show later this month is part of promotional activities targeted towards the sector.

Bahrain Tourism also plans to be present at the EIBTM in Geneva and Pata Travel Mart in Singapore later this year - the two shows which specifically target the MICE/business sector, a tourism affairs spokesman said.

aldana.jpg Al Dana takes shape ... The $26 million Al Dana Resort is taking shape alongside the old Muharraq Causeway in Bahrain. The Novotel resort is expected to open in June this year. See full report - Page 20.