Bahrain aims to attract 14.1 million tourists by 2026 as part of new strategy
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Bahrain aims to attract 14.1 million tourists by 2026 as part of new strategy

Bahrain aims to attract 14.1 million tourists by 2026 as part of new strategy

The strategy seeks to increase the contribution of tourism to Bahrain’s GDP to reach 11.4 per cent in 2026

Bahrain has announced plans to attract 14.1 million tourists by 2026 as part of a new strategy to diversify its economy.

The country has unveiled a new 2022-2026 tourism strategy, which aims to boost the contribution of the sector to Bahrain’s GDP.

As part of the plan, by 2026, Bahrain aims to increase the average daily visitor spend to BHD74.8 and raise a tourist’s stay on average to 3.5 days, the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed AlZayani, who announced the plan, said it was an extension of the 2016-2019 strategy which “achieved its goals despite the challenges”.

“When the strategy was launched in 2015, the travel and tourism sector represented less than 4 per cent of the gross domestic product. Tourism’s contribution to GDP has grown to approximately 7 per cent as a result of the efforts and initiatives launched by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority,” he noted.

AlZayani, also chairman of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, said that the new strategy has four main objectives: To increase the contribution of tourism to GDP to reach 11.4 per cent 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.

This will be achieved by facilitating entry into the kingdom; diversifying and developing tourist attractions; marketing and promoting tourism via the kingdom’s national carrier Gulf Air and the private sector; and enhancing tourist accommodation.

According to AlZayani, 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 strategy follows the implementation of major national tourism projects, including the launch of the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sakhir, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Offering 95,000 sqm of exhibition space over 10 halls, a 4,000-seat tiered auditorium and 95 meeting rooms, the venue is billed as being the largest exhibition and convention centre in the Middle East.

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority is also developing the diving waterfront, the Bahrain Bay beach project, and the Qalali Coast waterfront.

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.

In all, the country is investing more than $10bn directly in tourism infrastructure projects, such as new hotels and museums, according to the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

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