The Gulf island nation of Bahrain is expecting a boost in foreign business after being ranked the best global destination in the world for expats in a survey by network InterNations.
The country jumped from 19th place last year to first in 2017’s survey of 13,000 expats after topping the ease of settling in index.
It also stood third in the working abroad index, second in the job and career and work-life balance subcategories and jumped 13 places in the personal finance category.
Sixty eight per cent of expat respondents in the country were generally satisfied with their financial situation and 41 per cent said they earned a lot more than they would in the same role back home, while nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) were found to be satisfied with life in general.
Speaking to Gulf Business, Bahrain Economic Development Board’s executive director for tourism and leisure business development, Jerad Bachar, said the ranking would “absolutely” have a positive impact on the kingdom’s economy.
“Bahrain has held high rankings in expat surveys for a long time – HSBC also did a ranking with Bahrain in the top spot in the GCC for expat living – and it’s definitely one of our biggest sales points or value propositions,” he added.
Bachar said companies looking for a place to setup in the region needed to be sure that the talent they bring in are going to be happy, enjoy good schooling for their children, affordable quality housing and accessibility from other parts of the world.
“Even from a social standpoint Bahrain is an open, welcoming and engaging society. It’s not uncommon to go to dinner in a social setting and have people from all over the world including Bahrain be there at the table engaging with each other. You cannot replicate that anywhere else within the region – there is an authenticity.”
Bahrain was followed by Costa Rica, Mexico, Taiwan and Portugal at the top of the 65-country table and placed some way ahead of its Gulf neighbours.
Oman stood closest in 17th place followed by the UAE, up 14 places to 26th.
Further down the list, Saudi Arabia stood in 61st while Kuwait, which maintained its position in the bottom three for the fourth consecutive year, was 64th after climbing one place from the lowest ranking in 2016.
Bachar said each country in the region has its attractions but Bahrain had a “formula” and a proven track record of being an open society for people to come and experience.