UAE’s top property developers have continued to invest in Bahrain and helped the country’s tourism sector remain buoyant despite the current headwinds, the Economic Development Board said on Sunday. 

The Gulf state secured $492 million in tourism capital investment in 2020, mainly from real estate giant Emaar Properties and property developer Eagle Hills.  

Capital investment into the Middle East and Africa region last year plummeted by 82 percent to $1.6 billion compared to 2019. The decline resulted in employment cuts, with the tourism sector alone recording 14,600 in job cuts. 

“Despite the obvious challenges, we have continued to progress with our ambitious tourism infrastructure and real estate plans, which have attracted some of the world’s renowned hotel brands and the Gulf’s largest property development groups, including Emaar,” said Mahmood Al Aradi, chief investment officer at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board. 

Last Year, Emaar Entertainment and Eagle Hills formed a joint venture to develop an aquarium and underwater zoo at Marassi Galleria, a shopping mall in Bahrain. 

In its 2020 report, Emaar also said that its hospitality arm has expanded its geographic presence in several markets in the Middle East region.  

In Bahrain, Emaar Hospitality secured management agreements to operate Address Marassi Al Bahrain, which has 112 rooms, and Address Residences Marassi Al Bahrain, which has 155 serviced residences. 

Other large companies that have expressed interest in investing further in the Gulf estate include, hospitality group Accor, Minor Hotels and Hilton Double Tree, which have unveiled plans to launch new properties in the kingdom. 

Bahrain expects to have around 9,300 five-star hotel rooms by end of 2022. 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

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