Bahrain’s exhibitions sector growth jumps 40pc
Manama, June 3, 2013
Bahrain is pushing ahead with plans to construct a new "Exhibition City" following an increase of 40 per cent last year in the kingdom’s exhibitions industry last year over 2011, said a senior government official.
Plans for a BD6 billion ($15.5 billion) industrial city are also in the pipeline, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
He was speaking during a Press conference after the Cabinet meeting at Gudaibiya Palace, during which the ministry's annual report for last year was approved.
"Last year was an outstanding year in comparison to previous in all aspects - industrial, commercial and exhibitions," said Dr Fakhro.
"The sectors under my ministry have returned to normalcy with the commercial sector picking up from the unrest, the industrial sector seeing huge progress and the exhibitions sector being 100 per cent active.
"The Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority (BECA) is full and can't take any bookings. We now direct exhibitors and conference organisers to hotels and sometimes we have to turn down requests because we can't make other arrangements.
"The authority (BECA) made profits of BD1.58 million last year, an increase of 40 per cent from 2011, which has seen us save around 57 per cent in operation costs. What was years ago a mediocre sector has now seen a 116 per cent turnover."
The minister said the exhibition sector was faring so well that it made sense to expand, with a Bahrain Exhibition City to be built in the south of the country to keep up with demand.
"It will be carried out in three phases - with the first seeing the exhibitions and conferences area constructed, the second seeing two hotels and the third including complimentary facilities that will also feature recreational outlets," he explained.
Meanwhile, the minister said 125 industrial licences were issued last year involving investments worth BD52.4 million and initial approval was also granted to another 280 industrial proposals worth a total of BD763 million.
In addition, 8,689 Commercial Registrations (CRs) were issued - bringing the total number of active CRs to 72,424, with a cumulative working capital estimated at around BD19.4 billion.
Dr Fakhro said the BD6 billion industrial city would be built in Bahrain by 2040 or 2050, with studies into the project still ongoing.
"The project, which will cover 95 sq km, will increase the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 20 per cent and will offer 24,000 job opportunities," he said.
"Licences are being given in line with existing industrial spaces and we are facing scarcity of land.
"I have asked that two areas in Hidd and Sitra be reclaimed to meet the demand, especially with us attracting investments in pharmaceutical and foodstuff products - six were from Germany last year."
The Industry and Commerce Ministry report stated that 33,640 trademark requests and 417 patents were approved last year.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet approved a memorandum from the ministerial committee for legal affairs to initiate a trademark law in the GCC.
The law, which will be referred to the National Assembly, regulates procedures for registering a trademark, its duration, protection and other issues. – TradeArabia News Service