The kingdom’s successful cruise season and its position as a leading hub of tourism in the Gulf was recently highlighted at a successful global industry event held in the US sunshine state of Florida.A delegation from the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) participated in the four-day Seatrade Cruise Global 2024 convention, the largest event within the international cruise ship industry.

“The exhibition offered us a significant opportunity to showcase the remarkable achievements of the 2023-24 season and to underscore Bahrain’s prominent status as a key player in the global marine tourism scene,” BTEA chief executive Sarah Buhijji explained.“It emphasised Bahrain’s exceptional appeal as a marine destination, offering a plethora of options for tourists, thanks to its ability to attract various types of ships, including tourist vessels, luxury liners and giant cruise ships.”The event drew senior industry professionals and decision-makers from various corners of the globe, alongside more than 600 leading exhibitors and 10,000 visitors from 120 countries.

The BTEA joined several prominent Bahraini companies, entities, tourism offices and marine vessel sector facilities, in exhibiting at the official ‘Cruise Arabia’ pavilion within the convention. This pavilion also featured exhibitors and companies engaged in port operations, airlines and tourist destination management in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE as well as Oman.“BTEA’s participation was aimed at facilitating meetings with representatives of international cruise ship companies to explore collaboration opportunities and showcase the incentives and facilities provided by the kingdom to attract more cruise ships and sought to improve communication between the authority, other relevant authorities and international maritime transport companies,” Ms Buhijji added. The authority’s participation also strengthened partnerships and collaboration with GCC states in marine tourism to foster joint projects supporting the burgeoning cruise ship industry development.

Furthermore, it sought to attract a greater number of ships and cruise liners to Bahrain, positioning it as a premier destination for cruise ships on the global stage.The exhibition showcased the robustness of the kingdom’s tourism and maritime sector, underscoring the available docking opportunities for cruise ships and yachts, while highlighting the considerable demand for the Gulf region by colossal cruise ships worldwide.

Ms Buhijji also noted that the BTEA’s participation is part of its ramp-up for the upcoming cruise ship season of 2024-25, in line with the BTEA’s vision for advancing the marine tourism sector and increasing tourist arrivals, in line with Bahrain’s tourism strategy for 2022-2026.Bahrain’s successful 2023-24 cruise tourism season, which ends this month, saw five new cruise ships docking at the Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) – Windstar Cruise, Le Bougainville, Norwegian Dawn, MSC Cruise, and Adia Cruise – in addition to the luxury ones catering to the business class.In total, 47 ships are docking in Bahrain during its current cruise season, which runs from October to April every year. According to the latest available data, Bahrain welcomed 43,556 visitors arriving through seaport in the last quarter of 2023.Manama has also been selected as the Gulf tourism capital for 2024, and has a jam-packed calendar of numerous tourism and entertainment events awaiting visitors this year, guaranteeing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.These events include marine activities, cultural celebrations, live concerts and musical performances, bringing Bahraini and Gulf heritage to life and highlighting Manama, while also showcasing the distinctive cultural identity of Bahrain and the GCC on a regional and global scale.

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