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Bahrain’s tourism industry makes profit

altJuly 14 - Bahrain's tourism sector has a huge potential for growth, thanks to the Kingdom's strategic location and a close proximity to the region's biggest economies, a senior hospitality industry expert said yesterday.

"Tourism sector still has a huge untapped potential and the revenue from this segment can be increased manifold by developing the basic facilities like beaches and historic tourist destinations," Michel H. Mandrea, General Manager, Golden Tulip Bahrain said in an interview yesterday.

Being an Island nation, he said, the public beaches are almost non-existent in the Kingdom.

This has been largely restricting the scope for prospective tourists over the past many years especially those who love sandy beaches in the Gulf region.

According to official statistics, Bahrain had generated $1.7 billion from tourism in 2009.

Last year, Bahrain's spending on outgoing tourist expenditure reached $677 million whereas domestic tourism expenditure totalled only $17 million.

Michel, who has been working in the hospitality sector since the 1980s and has spent most of the time with many hotels in Bahrain, said the initiatives like preserving the traditional souq and developing stopover packages for the passengers using Bahrain International Airport (BIA) would help to re-position the tourism sector of Bahrain as a vital segment of the economy.

Currently, BIA is one of the busiest airports in the region, largely because of transit passengers. Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air had announced earlier that it was planning to partner with hotels and other industry players to encourage passengers in transit to stay for a longer period and explore all that this country has to offer.



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