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Published on : Thursday, April 28, 2016
As part of its drive to boost investment in Bahrain’s tourism sector, one of the Kingdom’s key areas of growth, the Economic Development Board (EDB) participated in a roundtable session titled “Uncovering Bahrain”. The roundtable was held on the sidelines of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), taking place in Dubai between April 26th and 28th at Madinat Jumeirah.
The roundtable aimed to highlight and promote discussion around tourism related investment opportunities in Bahrain, including the array of identified tourism development districts. Leading investors and developers from the hotel industry also discussed the Kingdom’s thriving hospitality sector, Bahrain’s infrastructure investment programme, and its economic value proposition.
Reflecting increased demand from both regional and international travelers, Bahrain’s tourism market, which currently comprises approximately 6% of GDP, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8%, reaching US$1 billion by 2020.
The hotels and restaurants sector was the fastest growing sector in the Kingdom for the past 2 years, expanding by 10% in 2014 and by 7.3% in 2015. Bahrain attracted a total of 11.6 million tourists in 2015, up 11% from the previous year.
Mr. Jerad Bachar, Executive Director of Tourism and Leisure at the EDB commented:
“There is strong investment currently underway in Bahrain’s tourism sector, stemming from both private and public sector sources. There is investment throughout the tourism ecosystem including accommodation, technology, ground transportation, airport infrastructure, and retail centres.
“The recently launched tourism brand identity “Ours. Yours. Bahrain” has been launched to build the overall awareness of Bahrain as a tourism destination. Through collaboration with the greater tourism community, we aim to increase the country’s competitiveness and increase the economic contribution from tourism to the GDP.”
Bahrain is home to 120 hotels including high quality brands such as the Four Seasons, the Ritz Carlton, Sofitel, ART Rotana, Marriott, Le Méridien and the Westin. More than ten five-star and four-star hotels are under development.
The development of the tourism industry in Bahrain is a priority, and is one of the major elements in the Kingdom’s plans to further diversify its economy. Bahrain is investing heavily in large infrastructure projects which will have direct benefits to the sector, including the $1 billion Bahrain International Airport Modernisation Programme. Other development projects driven by recent investment include the Avenues Mall and the One and Only Resort and Spa, both currently under construction.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has developed a comprehensive calendar of local, regional, and international events and exhibitions held throughout the year. These include The Gulf Air Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, The Spring of Culture Festival, Shop Bahrain Festival, and various consumer exhibitions. This calendar of events was recently promoted during tourism development roadshows held in India, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.