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'Promote Bahrain as cultural hub'
Manama, January 30, 2013
Tourism authorities should promote Bahrain as the region's cultural hub to attract more holidaymakers, according to a leading publisher.
This could boost the country's travel and tourism industry, which is expected to generate more jobs and contribute to the economy in the coming years, Akhbar Al Khaleej editor-in-chief Anwar Abdulrahman was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
He was speaking at a gathering organised by members of Skal International Bahrain at the Gulf Hotel last night.
"Bahrain can be a different type of tourism hub in the region because of its rich history and culture, which can, in the long run, benefit the travel industry," he said.
"Tourism is not about sea, sand or the sun - it's more than that in terms of cultural centres, state-of-the-art hospitals, infrastructure and other important aspects."
Abdulrahman said the tourism industry should "preserve its cultural past", adding more should be done to increase awareness on the importance of the country's heritage, despite efforts by Culture Minister Shaikh Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.
"I think the minister is doing a good job, but certainly needs more support," he said. "We need to introduce Bahrain as the cultural centre of the Gulf. It is a small country, but can be used as a large platform by the industry."
Abdulrahman also highlighted that the number of tourists coming into Bahrain had almost doubled since 2006.
"We had about 7.28 million visitors in 2006 which over the years increased and in 2010 we had about 11.95 million visitors," he added.
He said the industry generated 27,500 jobs in Bahrain during 2011, adding, "by 2022 it will account for 36,000 jobs - directly an increase of 2.3 per cent per annum over the next 10 years."
He also spoke of the industry's contribution to Bahrain's Gross Domestic Product, which was BD1.313 billion ($3.46 billion), making it 14.3 per cent of the GDP in 2011.
"This forecast is set to rise by 3.9 per cent every year to BD2bn in 2022," he added. – TradeArabia News Service