Bahrain - Ambitious plans to create an underwater city in the sea surrounding Hawar Islands has been agreed by councillors.
The visionary idea proposed by Hawar Islands councillor Hizam Al Dossary was unanimously approved by the Southern Municipal Council in its final meeting of its four-year term yesterday.
Mr Al Dossary believes the Atlantis-inspired project could attract thousands of visitors to the natural attraction.
The Lost City of Atlantis, first mentioned by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato more than 2,300 years ago, is known as one of the oldest and greatest mysteries of the world. According to Plato, the utopian island kingdom existed some 9,000 years before his time and mysteriously disappeared one day.
The proposed attraction would include a ‘memory lane’ adventure with a dive story-museum, and sunken ships and submarines besides a glass underwater aquarium in which guests are invited to experience the sea without getting wet.
Hawar Islands, currently vying for World Heritage Site status, is a protected nature reserve attracting thousands of migratory birds, as well as rare marine species such as the dugong.
Present at the meeting was newly-appointed Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture Minister Wael Al Mubarak.
“Hawar Islands is without a shadow of doubt ‘heaven on earth’ which will fascinate anyone the moment they visit,” said Mr Al Dossary.
“The few people who admire ‘natural beauty’ love the place even though transportation and free movement is hindered by a current lack of proper infrastructure,” he added. “However, there is so much more to Hawar Islands than just cycling, rafting and snorkelling and that’s getting people even more invested in its natural surroundings.
“The government is working to push tourism post Covid-19 and this suggestion could prove to be a wise investment.”
The world’s largest underwater theme park, the BD2.5 million Dive Bahrain, is set to reopen next year following a revamp.
A submerged 70-metre-long Boeing 747, the main attraction at eco-friendly underwater park has been left broken in pieces on the seabed.
There appears to be no argument over the condition of the shattered aircraft body, just claims and counterclaims over how it ended up in four separate parts and an alleged lack of care since its demise.
MPs claim it had drifted to destruction because it ‘wasn’t positioned properly’ and a minister at the time suggested, with expert backing, that trawlers were responsible for its fate.
“Our proposal for Hawar Islands is completely different and would complement plans for Dive Bahrain,” said Mr Al Dossary.
“I believe that the Tourism Ministry should take on board multiple ideas for the underwater city depending on public and visitor appeal in the region and across the world,” he added.
“The Atlantis-style project could attract thousands of visitors to what we describe as our natural heaven. It could feature a memory lane and a dive story-museum, with sunken ships and submarines besides a glass underwater aquarium in which people can experience the sea without getting wet.”
He hopes the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority will look at the proposal favourably, and take it up on its own or in partnership with the private sector.
“It is surely something that is worth tapping into,” he added.
Councillors in March asked the government to start feasibility, environmental and technical studies on a multi-million dinar 23km causeway linking Hawar Islands to Bahrain’s mainland rather than wait until funding is available.
One option suggested by the council would be to build a bridge stretching from the furthest point in the south of Bahrain, Ras Al Bar, to the northwest corner of Hawar.
The same council in March last year approved a proposal for the causeway, but members were informed by former minister Essam Khalaf that tight government budgets would have to be directed towards more urgent infrastructure projects on the mainland.
As reported by the GDN, a new eco-tourism-themed beach resort offering overwater villas and having its own helipad is set to open on Hawar Islands in 2024.
Announcing the Mantis Bahrain Hawar Island Hotel & Resort, Edamah, the real-estate arm of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, said the property would be situated on the west coast of the island and be surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary, making it a ‘one-of-a-kind destination in the Middle East’.
The announcement follows an agreement between Edamah and AccorHotels Group, which has the conservation-focused Mantis brand in its portfolio.
© Copyright 2020 www.gdnonline.com
Copyright 2022 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).