The Government of Bahrain has adopted an economic diversification plan that has effectively facilitated the development of various tertiary industries, namely banking, insurance, and tourism. In 1975 the first tourism department was set up as the tourist authority.
Ten years later, the Supreme Council for Tourism was formed under the chairmanship of the Minister of Information and the membership of key people representing both the Public and Private sectors.
It is worthwhile to mention that the scale of interregional tourism has minimized the adverse effects on tourism activity rising from last September’s horrifying events. Thus, arrivals statistics by the end of this year’s 3rd quarter recorded an increase of 14%. In 1995, an economic impact study established that tourism in Bahrain was responsible for 9.2% of the total GDP, and 36,000 jobs or 16.7% of the total work force. Total tourist expenditure amounted to $870m. In 2000, total tourist expenditure was estimated at $1.2 billion contributing over 1 1% of the GDP, while creating 43,000 jobs.
The growth of tourism has been contributed to the following qualities:-
- Geographical location of Bahrain
- Moderate climate most of the year
- Richness in history and heritage
- Well established infrastructure
- Well established transport network and telecommunication services
- Adequate tourist amenities including a wide range of accommodation facilities
- State of the art exhibition and conference facilities
- And last but not least, the unique friendliness and hospitality of the Bahraini people.
However, in order to sustain this development, and to position itself as an exclusive and unique destination, the Government of Bahrain has adopted progressive measures to create a better climate for the emerging CULTURAL and SPECIAL INTEREST, particularly MICE segments, as well as for potential investors.
- The introduction of a liberal visa policy that offers easy access to business and leisure visitors from Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and USA, who may obtain entry visas or multiple re-entry visas upon arrival in Bahrain.
- Issuing entry visas upon arrival to all residents of the GCC
- The allocation of wide areas on land, and in the sea around the island for reclamation, in order to set up new tourist projects like deluxe family oriented resorts and theme parks, taking into consideration minimum negative impact on the environment
- Supporting the private sector and foreign investments in such projects
- Improving and expanding the standard of service infrastructure at historical and heritage sites
- Re-evaluation and reclassification of.