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Sat 23 Apr 2011 03:31 PM

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Bahrain travel event cancelled due to unrest

Organisers confirm that Bahrain International Travel Expo will not take place as planned in May

Bahrain travel event cancelled due to unrest
Protester generic

The Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE) which was due to be held next month at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre in Manama has been cancelled.

The cancellation of BITE, which was scheduled to take place from May 12-14 is a further blow to Bahrain's ailing tourism sector, which has virtually ground to a halt due to the civil unrest in the country.

Following the cancellation of the F1 Grand Prix event in February, hotel occupancy levels have plummeted to just five percent, according to CB Richard Ellis. In a report last week, it also said some new hotel properties have been delayed.

Bahrain's cruise season has also been cancelled as operators removed Bahrain from their itineraries, website Hotelier Middle East reported.

Magnum Events & Exhibitions Management (MEEM), the exhibition organisers staging the travel expo confirmed that it was also cancelling other events in Bahrain and would be closing down the company in due course.

A statement from Abraham John, executive director, said: "I regret to inform you that we have decided to cease hosting the annual Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE) which we inaugurated in 2005.

"On this occasion we would like to place on record our sincere appreciation and thanks for all the support you extended to us since launching BITE in 2005. We have also decided to discontinue the Mother and Baby Bahrain Show- MBBS. In due course of time we will close MEEM."

On Thursday, golf legend Colin Montgomerie said he was confident that Bahrain’s European Tour event will take place later this year, despite the unrest that has affected the Gulf state.

“We are only in April here, so there's 10 months to go,” Montgomery said.  “I hear the Grand Prix is on towards the end of the year, and we follow on from that four or five months later, so if that goes ahead I don't think there is any need to worry.”

Bahrain hosted its first European Tour event in January this year. The Gulf features four tournaments, packaged as the Tour’s Desert Swing.

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