Manama, In line with Bahrain's comprehensive development goals, led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed R. alZayanitoday announced the new 2022-2026 tourism strategy which aims to diversify the Kingdom's economic portfolio, in parallel with the recently launched Economic Recovery Plan.

The minister’s announcement was made during a press conference organised by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

He said that Bahrain is working on increasing the tourism sector's contribution to GDP, in line with the government's development plans, headed by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.

He noted that in line with the Kingdom's economic recovery plan, the tourism sector will aim to increase the total number of tourists to 14.1 million by 2026, the average daily visitor spend to BHD 74.8 and raise the average tourist's stay to 3.5 days.

AlZayani, also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, highlighted that the tourism plan will contribute to the national economy, increase the Kingdom's competitiveness, and attract further investments that will benefit the country and its citizens.

He added that the new tourism strategy is an extension of the 2016-2019 strategy, which has achieved its goals despite various challenges.

"When the strategy was launched in 2015, the travel and tourism sector represented less than 4% of the gross domestic product. Tourism's contribution to GDP has grown to approximately 7% as a result of the efforts and initiatives launched by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority," the Minister noted.

He stressed that efforts will be increased to ensure the success of the new tourism strategy. He outlined the strategy's framework, which includes four main objectives: increase the contribution of tourism to GDP to reach 11.4% in 2026, to highlight Bahrain's position as a global tourist hub, increase the number of targeted countries to attract more tourists, and diversify tourism products.

The minister indicated that the plan is based on four strategies: to facilitate entry into the Kingdom, diversify and develop tourist attractions, market and promote tourism via the Kingdom's national carrier "Gulf Air" in partnership with the private sector, and enhance tourist accommodation.

HeZayani noted the role of travel agencies in further developing the tourism sector, adding that the best travel agents have been identified in the main global markets to target and attract additional tourists.

He emphasised that the tourism strategy relies on seven pillars: developing marine attractions, business tourism, sports tourism, recreational tourism, medical tourism, cultural tourism, and media tourism and cinematography.

He noted that the launch of the new tourism strategy follows the implementation of major national tourism projects, including the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sakhir, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority is also developing several tourism projects, including the diving waterfront, the Bahrain Bay beach project, and the Qalali Coast waterfront.

He said that the implementation of the economic recovery plan and the tourism sector development strategy has led to the construction of the Al Dana Theatre, which held its first event yesterday.

In this regard, the Minister stressed the importance of these national tourism projects to showcase Bahrain as a destination, thus contributing to economic growth and creating opportunities for citizens.

The Minister also highlighted the progress of work on tourist resort projects, such as the Mantis Hotel and Resort in the Hawar Islands, the Jumeirah Bahrain Bay Resort, the Tourist City project, the Bilaj Aljazayer Beach development project, and the Saada project, which will be completed by January 2023.

Source: Bahrain News Agency