BTEA celebrates Arab Tourism Day

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BTEA celebrates Arab Tourism Day

BTEA celebrates Arab Tourism Day

(Manama) – Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) has celebrated Arab Tourism Day themed “Tourism & Development of Local Communities.”

The celebration, under the patronage of Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani, was attended by representatives from the hospitality industry, touristic restaurants, national carrier Gulf Air, and other industry representatives.

“It gives me great pleasure to commemorate this significant initiative that aims to strengthen the role of the tourism sector as a contributing element to the economy in the Arab region. This initiative supports Bahrain’s vision to diversify economy and revitalize the non-oil sector. Moreover, it aims to showcase Bahrain as a regional and international touristic hub,” the minister said.

“Bahrain, represented by BTEA, has always stressed on the importance of shifting tourism sector to be one of the main contributors to the economy. It has also implemented measures that aim to increase the sector’s current contribution to the GDP to reach 7% by year 2018.”

The event kicked-off with the screening of a video produced by the Arab Tourism Organization, demonstrating the voyage of renowned scholar ‘Ibn Battuta’ and his significant historic role during his travels and excursions around the world which enriched the Arab culture. This celebration is also significant in that it coincides with the birth date of the scholar.

Following the video, Chief Executive Officer of BTEA, Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, revealed the latest statistics released by the ATO about Arab tourism industry and the significance of the development of this vibrant industry in the march of sustainable economic development.

“We are delighted to celebrate the occasion as it is an initiative that supports the intra-regional tourism and provides economic opportunities,” he said.

He highlighted the significance of developing the tourism sector in line with the sustainable development march, demonstrating the increase in the number of visitors to Bahrain from 11.6 million visitors in the year 2015 to 12.3 million visitors in the year 2016, registering an annual growth rate of 6%.

He also pointed out the increase in the ratio of the number of hotel guests, which rose from 1.2 million guests to 1.3 million, recording an increase of 5%. The rise in the key indicators had a positive impact on the rate of tourist residency, recording an annual rise of 21.7% to reach 2.8 days from its previously recorded 2.3 days. This directly impacted the rate of tourism’s contribution to the annual non-oil GDP of the Kingdom by 37%, which contributed to 4.6% of the non-oil GDP for the year 2015, increasing to the rate of 6.3% in the year 2016.