The floating market in Bangkok, Thailand
on which Bahrain's project will be based
Image: c sa / Shutterstock.com
Bahrain plans floating market to draw tourists
Manama, August 11, 2013
Businessmen in Manama could start selling products from boats as part of plans to build Bahrain's first floating market in a bid to attract tourists to a world heritage site, said a report.
The project will include a port, a colourful market with boats, traditional cafes and seafront restaurants surrounding the Bahrain Fort, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
However, a ban has been in place since the 4,000-year-old fort became a World Heritage Site in 2005 that prevents anyone from building in a way that obstructs views of the historic structure, which is one of the country's best tourist attractions.
The Manama and Northern Municipal Councils are seeking support from the Culture Ministry to get the scheme approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). However, the exact details have to be finalised.
"The place lacks the extra appeal that makes it a proper tourist destination despite being rich with world historical significance," said Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman and area councillor Mohammed Mansoor.
"For that we had to come up with ideas for tourist attractions that don't harm the fort's world heritage status, but at the same time would attract more people to the location.
"People these days want to spend a comprehensive day out with their families and in the case of tourists they want to visit historical sites and shop at the same time for souvenirs resembling the place they visited.
"We don't want to have anything built that would obstruct the fort's views and for that we want to have a floating market where vendors would sell their goods."
Mansoor said thousands of years ago the fort featured a port which was used by merchants from across the world.
"So having boats in the sea surrounding the fort would be a revival of one of the fort's original features, which is currently being represented by placards given to visitors to read," he added.
Mansoor hoped Unesco would agree to the project, which would also include seafront restaurants and cafes.
"At the moment, the fort only has one café which is not enough and doesn't reflect proper utilisation of the fort's location," he said.
"If the port is built then new café and restaurants could be opened.
"In all cases whether the port is allowed or not - I hope that a deal for the floating market is reached because it would add much needed colour to an already glamorous site."
It comes as billions of dinars could be invested in Seef if councillors are successful in getting building restrictions relaxed around the fort.
Councillors are demanding Unesco engineers be flown in to determine areas where construction could take place.
Forty businessmen, who own plots of land stretching up to three kilometres around the fort, are keen to start projects. – TradeArabia News Service