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Bahrain tourism gets a new brand identity

MANAMA, April 19, 2016

Bahrain today unveiled a new brand identity for its tourism sector, focusing on the hospitable culture the island is known for.

The brand's ‘Ours. Yours. Bahrain’ slogan embraces the country’s biggest asset, its people – their warmth and welcoming attitude, officials said unveiling the new logo at a press conference.

Organised by The Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), the conference at the Four Seasons Bay Bahrain saw a number of top officials from the hospitality sector as well as the media in attendance.

Dignitaries at the event included Zayed R. Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism; Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Communication; Shaikh Khalid bin Hamood Al Khalifa, CEO Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority and Vivian Jamal, Executive Director - Marketing & Communications of the Economic Development Board.

Participating in an open discussion, the dignitaries delved deeper into the idea behind the new tourism strategy and what it seeks to achieve.

Development of the country's beaches and promoting the concept of island living on surrounding islands such as Durrat, Dilmunia, etc. were also on the agenda.

The country also plans to revamp its access points for foreign visitors, including port facilities for yachts that arrive in Bahrain from other countries.

The strategy, according to Al Zayani, would focus mainly on ‘awareness, attraction, access and accommodation’.

“Our first step would be to create awareness and identify what we need to project, which we are doing along with our shareholders,” he said.

“After reviewing our existing tourist attractions, we have noticed that there are many that are lacking due attention, which needs to be revived.

“Our beaches and other parts of the island are also insufficiently used, and we will be focusing on those aspects as well.”

The authorities are also looking to take advantage of its human capital with a plan to certify 100 tourist guides by the end of the year. “We want to show more Bahraini faces to our tourists,” Al Zayani said.

He hoped the campaign would almost double the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP by 2018.

“Tourism, by way of income, currently contributes 3.6 per cent to the country’s GDP. We hope to double this to 6.6 per cent,” he said.

“Our goal is to not only promote Bahrain as a popular holiday spot in the GCC, but to also expand to other countries like China and India.”

“Our hospitality sector has recorded the average stay per tourist as two nights, which we are looking to increase to three nights per tourist.

“Our cruise sector has also seen an average of 67,000 tourists coming in as of 2015, which we also aim to increase by 2018.”

Through Brand Bahrain, the BTEA is hoping to place Bahrain on the world map by not only showcasing its ‘authentic culture and heritage’ but also the harmonious blend of an old and modern, business-friendly world.

At the conference, the minister also revealed plans to improve the access for tourists, with airport expansion plans underway and other efforts to better the King Fahad Causeway and Khalifa Bin Salman Port.

“83 per cent of tourists into the country come through the causeway, which brings a rise to traffic congestion, which we are working to overcome with our Saudi partners,” Al Zayani said.

“We are also looking at revamping the port facilities to provide better infrastructure to the yachts that bring tourists to the country.

“This will include facilities that will be able to receive yachts from the GCC and support yachts moving from north to south on the Arabian Gulf.”

Plans to increase the number of hotels and also establish a hospitality and culinary college are included in the agenda.

“Many of our tourists opt for sea-view facing hotels. With that in mind, we are encouraging investment in more of these hotels to attract visitors.

“We currently have six new sea-view hotel projects under construction,” Al Zayani said.

The new brand campaign is also looking to tap into the Mice market as well, with plans for a new exhibition centre revealed at the conference.

“We are working on plans for a new exhibition centre, which will be located near the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

The new centre will cover an area of 40,000 sq m, as opposed to the existing facility which covers only 14,000 sq m, and will be able to accommodate over 5,000 people at a time.

The new centre is currently in the designing phase should expect to start construction early next year.

Furthermore, the country is planning to set up new tourism offices in key markets at the end of the year as part of efforts to promote the kingdom.

The new offices will be located UK, France, India, Germany, Russia and one other GCC country, which has not yet been announced.

“The offices will be dedicated to promoting Bahrain as an ideal destination and increase the flow of tourists each year from these countries,” Shaikh Khalid said.

The new promotion drive will also see a four-month regional advertising campaign around the GCC, starting from May 1. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | tourism | Conference | brand |

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