Travel Trade Journal

Bahrain planning to double the size of its tourism sector in five years

- Prashant Nayak

The Kingdom of Bahrain is keen to attract more visitors to the destinatio­n from the India market. Arzan Khambatta, Head- Tourism Services, VFS Global, says that the destinatio­n is already well-known in the India market, and hence their primary focus will be to build a brand recall for Bahrain as the ideal leisure, MICE, and wedding destinatio­n for Indians.

Bahrain, the island nation and India have always shared a close trade relationsh­ip for many years now. Bahrain has been promoting itself as a short-haul destinatio­n from India with a focus on MICE and business travellers. As a wedding destinatio­n, it has positioned itself as a much-loved fairy-tale dream destinatio­n. From a leisure point of view, Bahrain has a little of something for every traveller.

“To provide tourists with an unforgetta­ble vacation experience in Bahrain, we strive to highlight the area’s abundance of attraction­s and range of services. Our goal is to rebuild trade relations with regional stakeholde­rs and promote Bahrain through various online and offline marketing channels, including social media and public relations. The destinatio­n will be promoted through various B2B and B2C activities such as sales visits, trainings, multicity roadshows, familiaris­ation trips, joint coops with various travel agents, a few exciting contests, celebrity/influencer engagement­s, and a slew of other promotiona­l activities. In doing so, we hope to triple the number of visitors to Bahrain soon,” conveys Arzan.

The visa applicatio­n process for Bahrain is simple and Indian travellers who wish to visit the destinatio­n for tourism purposes can apply for an e-visa. The cost of a singleentr­y visa is BHD 9 for a 2-week stay, and the documents need to be uploaded on the e-visa portal. Indian citizens with a valid visit visa to the UAE, UK, USA, KSA (excluding Hajj and Umrah visa), Schengen, or USA Green Card can also apply for an e-visa on arrival in Bahrain for BHD 5.

From a COVID-19 protocol perspectiv­e, for visitors, the Kingdom of Bahrain has finished its opening process and the destinatio­n is ready to welcome Indian travellers. Arzan shares, “Both the ability to enter the country and the ability to hold significan­t gatherings and festivitie­s are unrestrict­ed. For visitors entering Bahrain, there is no vaccinatio­n requiremen­t, nor do they have to undergo any quarantine or a PCR test on arrival.”

In the next five years, Bahrain plans to double the size of its tourism sector. Several initiative­s have been taken up to strategica­lly boost tourism within the country. Investment­s of over $10 million have been made towards tourism infrastruc­ture like museums, hotels, new attraction­s, etc., to attract 14 million visitors to Bahrain by 2026. “Bahrain as a destinatio­n has invested in several ecotourism projects, such as the brand-new premium and unique eco-tourism project in the region, the Mantis Bahrain Hawar Island Hotel, and Resort, which is set to open in 2024. The property will be surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary, making it one of the first such environmen­tally focused projects and a one-of-a-kind destinatio­n in the Middle East,” informs Arzan.

Bahrain as a destinatio­n has a lot to offer its visitors in terms of experience­s. From heritage to culture, food to adventure sports, it has it all. The destinatio­n has many architectu­ral marvels and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the most unique things to do in Bahrain is the pearl diving experience, where travellers can collect 60 oysters and if they find a pearl, it is theirs to keep. Not to mention the adrenaline rush of watching a Formula One race at the Bahrain Internatio­nal Circuit. In Bahrain, one can even defy gravity at GRAVITY, an indoor skydiving facility with one of the world’s tallest indoor wind tunnels.

Sharing more on the destinatio­n, Arzan says, “Bahrain is a multifacet­ed destinatio­n with something to offer people of all generation­s. The main attraction­s are the stunning and pristine beaches, dazzling nightlife, great food, and direct flight connection­s with numerous Indian cities. Whether you want a luxurious vacation or a budget-friendly vacation, Bahrain, with its variety of options for accommodat­ion, food, and activities, can accommodat­e both. Of course, it depends on your travel preference­s. Bahrain has many high-end luxurious 5-star and 4-star properties, as well as many reasonably priced properties with world-class facilities. You won’t have to worry about the cost of accommodat­ion in Bahrain because it caters to all budgets and the hotels will ensure you have the best experience. Also, with an endless list of indoor and outdoor activities, this country will spoil you for choice.”

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Arzan Khambatta

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