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‘Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism 2016’ calendar of events announced

The ‘Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism’ initiative aims to strengthen the development of two-way tourism between the GCC countries and its people

Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al Khalifa, Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority unveiled the calendar of events for the much-anticipated ‘Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism 2016’.

The announcement was made during a press conference attended by Mr Ahmed Al Nemah, Acting Undersecretary of Civil Aviation Affairs, Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications; Mr Nawaf Al Koheji, Shop Bahrain Director; Mr Sherif Al Mahdy, Commercial Director at the Bahrain International Circuit and Jerad Bachar, Executive Director Tourism and Leisure at the Bahrain Economic Development Board

The press conference follows the official launch of ‘Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism’ held last week under the patronage of His Royal Highness, Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

The ‘Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism’ initiative aims to strengthen the development of two-way tourism between the GCC countries and its people, as well as familiarize the historic cities and civilizations of the region. Manama was selected as the ‘Capital of Gulf Tourism’ following a decision made by the GCC Ministers of Tourism last year.

The initiative also acts as the starting point for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to revitalize the tourism sector in the Kingdom; paving the way for year-round events and activities in order to attract tourists and reenergize the tourism and hospitality sector.

“Today we launch our calendar of events which highlights the Kingdom’s offering in terms of its rich culture and heritage. As an accessible destination and the prime destination for GCC families, we aim to strengthen the Kingdom’s position by offering a vibrant calendar of events throughout the year,” commented Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al Khalifa, Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority.

Shaikh Khaled also announced the events and activities to be held under ‘Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism’, which targets all segments of society including GCC nationals and residents.

January Majlis
The Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority will host a monthly majlis with the organizers of the Kingdom’s event in order to further promote the events to the local and regional audience.

During the January Majlis, Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al Khalifa, Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority announced that the ‘Bahrain Gaming Experience’ will take place on the 14th until the 16th of January at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in partnership with Sony.

Furthermore, the Bahrain International Air Show will be held between January 21st and 23rd. Commenting on the launch of Bahrain’s calendar of events, Acting Undersecretary of Civil Aviation Affairs, Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, Ahmed Al Nemah said: “The Bahrain International Airshow since its inauguration in 2010 has enjoyed considerable success and has continued to evolve and grow to become a well-established event in the aviation industry calendar. Now in its fourth edition, the show is expected to be the biggest to date which will see increased participation from companies and civil and military delegations from more countries than previous shows including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Russia, France, Morocco, UK, and Brazil. The 2016 show will also see the addition of new features such as the hosted buyer program and other conferences which will further boost business and networking opportunities.”

‘Shop Bahrain’ Project Director, Nawaf Al Koheji stated that: “‘Shop Bahrain’, the largest event in the Kingdom, is an initiative that aims to support the retail sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain and attract visitors from across the region to enjoy a 30 day celebration of the heritage, hospitality and tourism offering by providing a distinctive shopping experience filled with special offers and entertainment.”

Also commenting on the calendar of events, the Commercial Director at Bahrain International Circuit, Mr Sherif Al Mahdy: “Bahrain International Circuit, the Home of Motorsports in the Middle East, boasts an eventful calendar in 2016 headlined by the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix held between the 1st and 3rd of April, along with a series of national and regional events such as the Bahrain Drag Racing Championship and the E.K. Kanoo Drag & Drift Nights. We anticipate an influx of GCC residents and tourists to attend the events held at the Circuit.”

Executive Director of Tourism and Leisure at the Economic Development Board, Mr Jerad Bachar said: “The tourism sector continues to grow as a key economic contributor to Bahrain’s economy. The recognition of Manama as the GCC Capital of Tourism is significant and timely as the stakeholders come together to move the industry forward.”

Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al Khalifa, Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority also revealed the calendar of events for the first quarter of the year including the ‘Food Festival’, a culinary exhibition that showcases the Kingdom’s emergence as a gastronomy destination. The ‘Food Festival’, held between the 25th of February to the 3rd of March, aims to promote the diversity, creativity and multicultural nature of the Kingdom. In addition, the ‘GCC Food and Travel Award’, held on the 27th of February, is an awards ceremony targeting restaurants and hotels in the Kingdom of Bahrain and across the GCC.

During March and for the first time, Disney Live!, the world’s most successful and best loved family show will come to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The five-day program, held between the 15th to the 19th of March at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre, will tantalize the audience with family-fun entertainment.

Meanwhile, ‘Souqs of Bahrain’ will be held from the 9th to the 15th of March. The festival aims to endorse the traditional and local Bahraini handicrafts while focusing on the traditional souq shopping experience. The event will be held in both the Manama and Muharraq souq.

Shaikh Khaled also added that the renovation of the traditional souqs is an important aspect of enhancing commercial trade and tourism in the Kingdom, and that the souq has become an important tourist attraction due to its connection to Bahrain’s history and development.

“The tourism sector is continuously evolving to meet the strategic plans set in place to develop the industry at large. Our efforts are focused on easing the electronic visa process and attracting investments. The Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority will also focus on developing bilateral tourism relations with neighbouring Gulf countries,” he added.