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Bahrain eyes $1bn tourism receipts by 2020

Bahrain’s tourism industry is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $1 billion by 2020, according to figures released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2017.

Bahrain witnessed an 8.4 percent increase in inbound traffic in the third quarter of 2016 and a peak of 1.4 million arrivals during the month of August, a statement said.

It added that the Gulf kingdom expects to welcome 15.8 million annual visitors by 2018. This will represent an increase of 36.2 percent on current figures and will place the country’s tourism industry on track to reach its $1 billion 2020 target.

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said: “The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority has engaged with a number of public authorities and private sector organisations over recent months and the returns are beginning to be realised.

“The BTEA now operates seven official representation offices worldwide, with a focus on source markets in Europe and Asia, and will continue to work hand-in-hand with hotels, tour operators and cruise lines to achieve its objectives.”

Leisure tourism is expected to drive growth in Bahrain, rising to BD1.2 billion in 2026 while business arrivals will generate BD219.3 million per annum in the same period.

As activity continues to increase, GDP contributions from tourism will also rise, from the 10.6 percent contribution witnessed in 2015 to a predicted 13 percent contribution towards GDP in 2026, the statement said.

Tourism investment is expected to reach BD217.9 million in 2026, which will be 8.6 percent of the national total, it added.

The $1.1 billion expansion at Bahrain International Airport will double capacity from 7 million to 14 million passengers per year by 2020 while analysts STR estimates that there is currently 12,641 rooms and a pipeline of 4,187 rooms, an increase of 33.1 percent in hotel stock over the coming years.

Press added: “The main theme of this year’s ATM is experiential travel and Bahrain is a perfect example of what this sector offers, with investment set aside for the regeneration of the historic bazaar district, Manama Souq and similar projects at Bab Al Bahrain.”

ATM takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 24-27.

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