Bahrain in pole position at ATM

F1 in Bahrain … huge attraction

Bahrain will have a strong presence at the ATM this year, buoyed by the second successful Formula One Grand Prix and the many new projects coming up in the Kingdom.

“Bahrain is a unique destination in the region. It combines modernity with tradition, and the Kingdom’s appeal lies in its variety and diversity,” said Ashraf Emam, senior marketing specialist at the Department of Tourism Affairs (DTA).
The recent opening of new hotels, launch of exciting big-ticket development projects with a tourism allure, and the establishment of major international sporting events have all contributed immensely to Bahrain’s growing regional and international tourism appeal.
“We have the Formula One, the only one in the Middle East. We are strong in history and culture. We have a lot to talk about to the discerning tourist and ATM is an ideal venue for this,” Emam added.
On its 120 sq m pavilion, the DTA will host nearly 40 hotels and travel agents, to promote Bahrain’s fast-growing portfolio of tourism attractions. The Bahrain delegation will also comprise a high-level team from the government. “The private sector, comprising hotels, travel agents and tour operators, is an equal and enthusiastic partner in promoting Bahrain at the exhibition,” said Emam.
The stand will reflect the uniqueness of Bahrain. Apart from portraying the country’s historical, modern, sports and shopping attractions, the stand will also put the spotlight on the iconic new projects coming up in the Kingdom such as The Bahrain Financial Harbour, Durrat Al Bahrain, The Bahrain World Trade Centre, Amwaj Islands, Al Areen Resort and Spa and other projects. These stunning projects will enhance the tourism appeal of the Kingdom, said Emam.
Brochures, booklets, CDs and DVDs on the various aspects of Bahrain as well as the new projects will be distributed at the stand. “Also on hand will be representatives from the Bahrain International Circuit who will provide details on the Middle East’s only F1 circuit and the new exciting projects coming up at the circuit,” added Emam. There is also a plan to have a live demonstration of Bahrain’s rich handicrafts at the stand.
The Bahrain team’s focus at the ATM will be promotion of the Kingdom as a leisure, family and MICE destination. Bahrain last year attracted more than five million visitors and the just concluded Formula One itself was a huge success with 42,000 spectators packing the circuit. The Kingdom hopes to receive 10 per cent more tourists this year.
Unlike last year, people who came to watch the race this year spent more time in Bahrain to see what the island has to offer, Emam pointed out.
There are plans to have year round activities for the tourists in the Kingdom. A committee, comprising both the government and private sectors, has already been formed to study proposals and formulate a strategy.
The number of Bahrain trade visitors to the ATM has been constantly rising during the last few years, with a notable 20 per cent increase in last year’s event as compared to the 2003 event, said Chris Chackal, group exhibitions director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

By Sree Bhat