Efforts to make Bahrainis the number one choice for employers in the hospitality and tourism sector remains a top priority, stated a top minister.

Tourism Minister Fatima Al Sairafi said her ministry was working on a series of plans to empower and train Bahraini youth to unleash their talent.

She added that plans were also underway to venture into sports tourism, which has become the fastest growing sector to attract tourism globally.

The minister said that as part of the national development process and to implement the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, it was vital to work on plans that focus on youth initiatives.

“We are working to provide more support to Bahraini youth and encourage them to engage in the tourism sector and avail of its employment and growth opportunities,” she said yesterday.

“The ministry is also encouraging young people to launch businesses and companies specialised in tourism and entertainment that contribute to supporting the prosperity of the sector.”

She hailed the ability of Bahraini youth to understand the requirements of the contemporary tourism industry and to provide an innovative Bahraini tourism product.

Furthermore, the minister added that the ministry was particularly keen to energise “sports tourism” within the framework of the efforts and youth empowerment initiatives of His Majesty King Hamad’s representative for humanitarian work and youth affairs and Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and the contributions by General Sports Authority, and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

“Empowering Bahraini youth in the tourism sector would also attract more young regional and international tourists, based on programmes and events that meet youth interests and achieve their aspirations, and focus on sectors related to sports tourism,” she added.

“The youth can also work with private tourism sector facilities on marketing plans and promotions for young people.”

Sports tourism attracts tourisms from around the world interested in sports activities during their holidays, and mega sporting events such as Olympics and World Cups have traditionally served as a catalyst for tourism development.

The GDN reported last week that Bahrain recorded a 38 per cent increase in visitor arrivals in the second quarter of this year compared to the first quarter.

This indicates that the tourism sector recovery rate has reached 82pc compared to the pre-pandemic period, specifically Q2 2019.

The hospitality and hotel sector witnessed a staggering 422pc increase in business, while the total tourism revenues during the same period also increased by 562pc, compared to the same period last year. Total tourism revenues amounted to BD330.4 million, compared to BD49.9m in the same period last year.

The GDN reported in June that the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA) had signed 75 agreements with tour operators in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Spain and Italy, and opened a special office at Bahrain International Airport to welcome and guide tourists.

Other key initiatives included the launch of an electronic system to link hotels and restaurants to authorities to help gather accurate statistics, and the launch of listing local events.

Future plans include a fully-featured software for tourism in Bahrain, along with tours of the Manama Suq, the new Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sakhir with 70pc of its construction completed and slated to open later this year, Bahrain Bay Beach, Galali Beach and the diving park.


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