Complex Made Simple

Bahrain’s new tourism strategy features a waterfront theme

Bahrain

Bahrain's Tourism Minister Zayed R. AlZayani recently launched the new 2022-2026 tourism strategy which aims to diversify the Kingdom's economic portfolio

Bahrain's International Exhibition and Convention Centre to be completed by end of 2022 Developments will transform Bahrain’s coastline into a waterfront destination and tourist attraction Bahrain has received around $40 million for new investments in tourism projects

Bahrain’s Tourism Minister Zayed R. AlZayani recently launched the new 2022-2026 tourism strategy which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economic portfolio, in parallel with the recently launched Economic Recovery Plan headed by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister.

He said the tourism sector will aim to increase the total number of tourists to 14+ million by 2026, the average daily visitor spend to BHD74.8 ($199), and raise the average tourist’s stay to 3.5 days.

He added that the new tourism strategy is an extension of the 2016-2019 strategy, which has achieved its goals despite various challenges.

“When the strategy was launched in 2015, the travel and tourism sector represented less than 4% of the gross domestic product. Tourism’s contribution to GDP has grown to approximately 7%,” AlZayani noted.

The minister outlined the strategy’s framework, which includes four main objectives: increase the contribution of tourism to GDP to reach 11.4% in 2026, highlight Bahrain’s position as a global tourist hub, increase the number of targeted countries to attract more tourists, and diversify tourism products.

He emphasized that the tourism strategy relies on seven pillars: developing marine attractions, business tourism, sports tourism, recreational tourism, medical tourism, cultural tourism, and media tourism and cinematography.

The launch of the new tourism strategy follows the implementation of major national tourism projects, including the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sakhir, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

The minister also highlighted the progress of work on tourist resort projects, such as the Mantis Hotel and Resort in the Hawar Islands, the Jumeirah Bahrain Bay Resort, the Tourist City project, the Bilaj Aljazayer Beach development project, and the Saada project, which will be completed by January 2023.

BTEA

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) is also developing several tourism projects, including the diving waterfront, the Bahrain Bay beach project, and the Qalali Coast waterfront.

BTEA has in fact launched a new 5-year tourism strategy in an attempt to develop its position as a regional tourism opportunity.

Nasser Qaedi, BTEA chief executive, said: “Our new tourism strategy includes a wealth of developments designed to entice the business and leisure traveler ranging from waterfronts, sea leisure activities, sports, recreation and medical tourism to heritage, media, and MICE business travel.”

Bahrain is preparing for the opening of two new five-star hotels – with Vida Beach Resort Marassi Al Bahrain set to open in quarter four this year, and Address Marassi Al Bahrain to open early next year.

Bahrain Bay Beach, Galali Beach & Waterfront, and Al Ghous Waterfront are all set to follow.

These developments will transform Bahrain’s coastline into a waterfront destination and tourist attraction.

Also, the country’s new International Exhibition & Convention Centre (IECC) is set to open in the second half of 2022, boasting the largest venue of its kind in the Middle East.

BTEA will additionally launch a Discover the Treasures of Bahrain campaign in the UK. Running until the end of the year, the event will educate both the trade and consumers through social and digital activity, showcasing the depth and breadth of experiences available in the country and raising awareness of Bahrain as a year-round leisure destination.

Fresh tourism investments

Bahrain has received around $40 million for new investments in tourism projects, helping to create more than 260 jobs over the next 3 years, according to a report by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB).

EDB said key tourism investments include Remza Investment Company’s addition of Turkish hospitality brand, Gunaydin, to its portfolio. Gunaydin’s $6.5 mn investment will lead to its first restaurant in the kingdom, creating 80 jobs over three years.

Another investment is by chocolate brand Patchi which allocated $8 mn for the expansion of the business in the Kingdom, helping to create 160 jobs. 

And ELSS Group, which specializes in the construction of aquariums and marine parks, also announced a $1 mn investment in their regional operational base at the Bahrain Aquarium. the kingdom’s largest aquarium which has opened at the Mall of Dilmunia. 

ELSS will operate and maintain the aquarium until at least mid-2025, as well as having more plans in Bahrain, Saudi, Oman, and the UAE.