Manama souq gears up for carnival
Manama, April 16, 2012
Preparations were underway yesterday (April 15) for a carnival next to Bab Al Bahrain, Manama, coinciding with the staging of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
The carnival, which could start today and continue until April 30, will feature shopping areas, food stalls, street performances and raffle draws, among other activities.
It follows an announcement last month by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Dr Essam Fakhro, who said efforts would be made to attract tourists to the historic shopping district and revitalise business in the area.
Traders in the traditional market have been hit by a drop in shoppers as a result of last year's unrest and all have been invited to feature in the carnival showcasing Bahrain's heritage.
Businessmen operating in the area have welcomed the news, but are also hoping for a long-term rescue plan to help them recover from disruption over the past 14 months.
"We need a long-term plan to ensure we get business at all times," said textile trader Mahmood Ahmed Al Namlaity.
"This carnival will come and go, but where will the customers come from after it is over?"
Co-owner of 80-year-old company Sadiq Brothers, Shahid Sadiq, complained that preparation work for the carnival had actually affected trade even more.
"They are preparing for the event and they have closed all roads leading to Bab Al Bahrain," said Sadiq, whose company has been forced to close three outlets due to declining business.
"What few customers we had have also dried up. At least they should ask us what we want. Whatever they do with good intentions ends up causing more problems for us."
The owner of Marsim Store, who closed down one of two shops operated by his 65-year-old business last month, called for a comprehensive master plan to rescue the suq.
"The daily demonstrations and road closures are not helping," he said. "The carnival is fine, but can anyone tell us how it will help us in the long term?" – TradeArabia News Service