By Andy Sambidge
Gulf state wants to double industry's GDP contribution over next 10 years - official.
Bahrain is planning to more than double the contribution of tourism to the country's economy over the next 10 years, a top official has revealed.
Essa Hassani, senior marketing specialist - Tourist Section, Bahrain Ministry of Culture and Information, said more than 20 new five-star hotels would come online in the next few years in a bid to improve the offering to visitors.
He said: "Tourism plays a big role in Bahrain's gross domestic product (GDP) and currently represents 12 percent of total income, with this figure expected to rise to 25 percent over the next 10 years.
"Both the government and private sector has made considerable investments in to the country's tourism infrastructure with more that 20 five star properties expected to come online in the next three to four years."
He added: "We are very much targeting intra-regional travellers from GCC markets as this makes up 90 percent of our current tourist numbers."
He was speaking at a press conference to outline Bahrain's involvement in the Arabian Travel Market 2009.
"In addition, we will also look to traditional Western tourism markets to supplement Bahrain's fledgling cruise industry. Currently we have three cruise ships a week docking in the Kingdom, representing 120,000 passengers a year. We hope to double that in the next two years," Hassani added.
More than 20 local companies are already committed to Arabian Travel Market 2009, the Middle East's largest travel and tourism event which is due to take place in Dubai from May 5-8.
What do they want to do - Only 2 weeks ago they wanted to Ban alcohol and other things
These comments are in Stark Contrast to the daily Retoric of banning alcohol from all eating establishments etc. This prediction wont even get off the ground if they do. Tourists usually come for a good time and stress free visit. It would help the investment in Bahrain if the powers that be finally put this nonsense to bed instead of sitting on the fence or in fact going ahead with it and see what happens. You will end up with gangsters springing up overnight illegal drinking dens and uncontrolled drinking and drugs.