Bahrain is confident it can attract 14 million visitors annually by 2026 as it almost doubles its tourism sector’s contribution to economic output to 11.4 per cent.
The kingdom’s accelerated tourism push will build on previous achievements, in tandem with plans to build up its business events sector, while boosting growth from foreign markets. Events, including regular fixtures such as the Formula One GP or the IISS Manama Dialogue, are part of the marketing strategy for attracting visitors but there will also be an emphasis on business conferences and meetings.
A new exhibition and convention centre, called Exhibition World Bahrain, is expected to be ready in November. Mr Alzayani said it would create business opportunities for joint ventures and foreign direct investment into Bahrain “when you bring all these big conventions and all these people from around the world. We are confident we will hit the 14 [million target]”.
Greater investment in Gulf Air will also be key, he said. Risks that could have an impact include a resurgence of Covid-19, as well as competition from other markets. Ultimately, the ambition is for Bahrain to be a “hub of excellence”.