Bahrain plans new move to boost tourism
Manama, February 21, 2014
Key figures from Bahrain’s hotel and travel industry have put together a strategy in the hope of breathing new life into the kingdom’s tourism sector.
The Destination Bahrain Forum was initiated by Kempinski Grand and Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre general manager Puneet Singh, who spoke to our sister publication the Gulf Daily News (GDN) last October about the need to do more to revitalise the flagging industry.
The official, who has run hotels all over the world, including in China and Turkey, fears there will not be enough tourists to fill the growing number of hotels in Bahrain if more is not done to encourage visitors from Europe and other parts of the world.
The forum already has 15 members, made up of general managers of hotels, travel agents and representatives from airlines.
"The aim of the forum is to come up with a workable mid and long-term strategy to present to the Ministry of Tourism which will help to develop tourism in Bahrain," said Singh.
"We are all professionals in the tourism industry and our combined experience exceeds 200 years. We have one common reason for being in this forum - we love Bahrain and want tourism to thrive here, because it has huge untapped potential.
"We want a strategy that will deliver results and will contribute to the ministry's existing and newly-launched initiatives. The Ministry of Tourism is aware of this forum and has been very supportive of this project initiative."
During a meeting, held at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa yesterday, forum members put together the final details of a four-pronged strategy that they hope to present to the Ministry of Tourism next week.
"I have been in Bahrain for a year and in that time I have seen that we have a lot to offer tourists," said Sofitel area manager Samy Boukhaled.
"For me, Bahrain is similar to Switzerland in that it is very small, very cosy and very family orientated. This is what I see here, it is a very special unique place and Bahrainis are very welcoming and friendly, but this is not yet known in the international tourism sector.
"Rather than just focusing on the GCC market, we need to draw people in from other parts of the world, like Russia, for example. We have some great hotels, the sun and the beaches so we are looking at how we can best promote these assets to the international market.
"We should be on a par with Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia,” he added.
Details of the strategy outlined in the report have yet to be unveiled, but they were put together following a series of meetings and workshops held over the last few months. – TradeArabia News Service