Bahrain is a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is amongst the top 50 countries in terms of human development index (an index based on three dimensions: long and healthy life, knowledge, decent standard of living). It has two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its economy is not just focused on trading petroleum products but has a diverse economy focusing on various sectors including banking, trading and tourism. The government of Bahrain actively promotes travel and tourism for the sustainable economic development of the country.
Tourism industry is one of the leading and dynamic industries worldwide. In 2017, this industry generated 10.4% of global GDP and 9.9% of global employment. In 2018, the contribution of tourism in Bahrain was around 7% of the country`s GDP and this contribution is expected to rise steadily to 10.9% by 2028. In 2018, the number of visitors that the country witnessed was 12 million which is expected to reach 14 million by 2022. This will consequently impact the hospitality sector increasing the number of hotels and investments by local as well as international business professionals who are looking to expand their base and influence. It also presents a plethora of opportunities to entrepreneurs who can directly or indirectly be a part of the ever-expanding tourism industry of Bahrain.
Contribution of Tourism Industry to the Bahrain Economy
- Direct contribution to the economy- activities related to hotels, travel agencies (travel agents and guides), airlines and transportation facilities have a direct impact on the economy.
- Indirect contribution to the economy- private and government investments for the promotion of tourism indirectly impact the economy.
- Induced contribution to the economy- expenditure by those who are directly or indirectly employed by tourism also impacts the economy.
Opportunities in the Travel and Tourism Industry of Bahrain
- Bahrain`s strategic location in the Persian Gulf makes it an accessible place for people from other Gulf countries who are looking forward to a long weekend dedicated to recreational activities.
- Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) organises, promotes and manages events, conventions and exhibitions related to art, culture, business, entertainment and sports on a local, national as well as international level to attract people who are either looking for leisure activities or business related activities. Thus, promoting Bahrain as an international tourist attraction as well as an exciting place to do business with many prospects.
- Bahrain Hospitality and Restaurant Expo 2018 is a great example of bringing people together to create connections, build business networks, introduce and promote ideas, products and services to a diverse audience; and bring tourism and hospitality under one umbrella.
- BTEA encourages local and international investors by working on elimination of hurdles that might come up.
- Investors are allowed to open up a hotel, restaurant or tourist resort and completely own these establishments.
- The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism support investments meant for building state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure according to the international standards.
Bahrain presents an abundance of opportunities for investment in its tourism and hospitality sector by providing a pro-business environment, state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities, strategic trading location, an idyllic island setting, rich cultural heritage, and various kinds of events and exhibitions. The capital of Bahrain, Manama was named the Gulf Capital of Tourism in 2016. The Economic Development Board of Bahrain provides opportunities to Bahrainis, GCC Nationals and foreigners to invest in the tourism sector and take advantage of lower utility costs (electricity and water, telephone services), lower rental costs for office spaces and lower cost of operations for cross-border interconnectivity compared to other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
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