Bahrain, once known for its pearl in the world, has opened up a plethora of opportunities for investors in the tourism and aviation sectors. As part of this effort, the Gulf nation is planning to set up tourism offices in key global markets, including India (Mumbai or New Delhi), the UK and Russia.
Bahrain Economic Development Board executive director (tourism & leisure) Jerad Bachar said, “Tourism is the fastest growing sector in Bahrain as other GCC countries are now saturated.
The EDB is responsible for product development while the tourism office is responsible for demand development.”
“We have planned to open offices in major markets such as India in the next two years. Our office in India will also cater to other South Asian countries,” said Bachar.
The tourism department has prepared a focused plan to offer Indian tourists a comprehensive tourism product. And to attract more tourists, the West Asian country reduced its visa fee to 5 Bahrain dinars (BD) from 25 BD last month.
Asked about expectations from Indian industrialists, Bachar said, “We want a lot from India.
We invite Indian investors to invest in the real estate sector of our country.”
Moreover, Bahrain aims to offer Indians visiting the Gulf nation a niche tourism experience that includes culture, shopping and nightlife. For Formula 1 enthusiasts, the Bahrain International Circuit could be a major attraction.
Hotels in the country have started offering Indian cuisines such as poha, idli-sambar and naan. “We have seen a tremendous growth in the number of travellers from South Asia and from India in particular. Our hotel is offering them everything what we can to make them feel at home,” said Greg Pirkle, general manager, Four Seasons, a 5-star hotel at Bahrain Bay.
Bahrain saw an increase of 11% in tourist arrivals in 2015 with 350,000 coming from South Asia. The country is also upgrading its current airport, getting it ready for future demand. Besides, the Bahrain Airport Company is planning to increase air connectivity with India.
(Travel for this report was sponsored by the Bahrain Economic Development Board)