Bahrain travel expo off to flying start
Manama, May 13, 2010
Ninety exhibitors from 30 countries around the world are taking part in the sixth edition of the Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE 2010) which begins today.
The three-day event, at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, is being held under the patronage of Culture and Information Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.
'This sixth event in as many years is a commitment to Bahrain and we intend to carry it on despite the sometimes difficult conditions,' said Magnum Holdings Group founder and parent company Magnum Events and Exhibitions Management (MEEM) executive chairman Jamil Wafa.
'The economic conditions in the last few months have led to 30 countries taking part this year, as opposed to 40 last year, but we are not deterred.
'We also expect the number of visitors to decline to around 15,000 over three days, as compared with 18,000 we had last year.
'This is not to say there is any lack of interest in the show or in Bahrain - the reasons are purely economic - and we are sure the economy will rebound very soon.'
Speaking during a pre-event Press conference at the Elite Resort and Spa, Wafa said there were already signs things were looking up and these would get only better in the coming months.
'We are undaunted by the crisis caused due to the global recession in the travel industry and we feel it is hard to match the record number of exhibitors and hosted buyers that the show received in the previous years. But the show must go on,' he said.
Wafa said BITE was also a commitment made to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Deputy Supreme Commander and Economic Development Board chairman, who has supported the exhibition since its inception.
He said several leading regional and international companies were participating and there had been no compromise on the quality of the show.
Wafa said BITE, the first Business to Consumers (B2C) travel and tourism event in the region, was a gathering of the right company and right people at the right time.
'It is an ideal forum for the coming together of reputed and international operators from a cross section of travel related businesses from airlines, car rental companies, conventions and exhibitions, cruise lines, health resorts and spas, hotel accommodation providers, medical tourism, MICE organisers, tourist attractions, tourism boards, tour operators, travel insurance and travel and tourism publications to interact with around consumers and international MICE buyers under one roof,' he added.
Wafa said there were many cultural attractions and surprises planned during BITE and a hosted Buyers programme 'BITE the MICE, would also run on all three days with 35 hosted buyers from China, India and Russia invited.
Wafa said Tamkeen, along with Bahrain Training Institute (The Travel Academy), would participate in the event to highlight Tamkeen's role in supporting the private sector and the tourism industry.
Platinum sponsors Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) chief executive officer Dr Osama Al Ali said BITE is the perfect platform to showcase the ever expanding Bahrain International Airport.
'We are in full support of this great venture and are looking for a long-term association.'
He said the BAC will continue to support all such ventures.
'The great thing about BITE is that there are so many people and organisations under one roof. WE can reach the world from this platform and showcase ourselves as one of the best airports in the world.'
Also present were Culture and Information Ministry tourism adviser Dr Heba Abdul Aziz, Al Hilal Group managing director Ronnie Middleton, Association of Bahrain Tour and Travel Agents (ABTTA) chairman Sufiyan Almoayed and MEEM senior adviser Hisham Al Baradie.
Qatar Airways is the gold sponsor and Gulf Air the official carrier. BITE is supported by the Culture and Information Ministry, ABTTA and the Capital Governorate. Elite Hospitality is the official hotel, Avenue Car Rental and Leasing is looking after the ground transportation and TTN (Travel & Tourism News Middle East) and Al Hilal Group are the media partners while Radio Voice is the official radio channel.
Entry to the event is free and it is open today for the public after the inauguration ceremony which begins at 10am, and from 4pm to 10pm.
It will open tomorrow from 4pm to 10 pm and on Saturday from 10am to 12.30am and again from 4pm to 10pm.-TradeArabia News Service