Fourteen weddings will be held in Bahrain in the first quarter of this year, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) announced yesterday.
These marriages will involve families from countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Australia, the US, the UK, Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and others, it added.
The kingdom hosted more than 54 weddings between 2017 and 2022, attracting around 20,000 guests from around the world with an average of 370 people attending each wedding.
There were two weddings in 2017; 10 in 2018; 13 in 2019; two in 2020, six in 2021 and 21 last year.
These weddings contributed millions of dinars directly to the national economy, despite Covid-19 putting the brakes on 10 planned nuptials during the pandemic period.
“The BTEA has recently doubled its efforts to attract more weddings from various continents, contributing to the recovery of ‘wedding tourism’ in 2023 and building on the pre-pandemic achievements,” said the authority’s chief executive Dr Nasser Qaedi.
“Our strategy consists of attracting exotic weddings and hosting international wedding organisers, expanding the network of wedding specialists, discussing the expansion plans in targeted markets and co-ordinating with others in various countries,” he added in a statement yesterday.
“The BTEA is promoting Bahrain as a unique destination for weddings and other occasions to people from Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas, attracting their citizens and expatriates alike.
“These additional efforts are in line with our plans to develop wedding tourism in Bahrain through the ‘Island Wedding’ initiative, which includes a variety of offers that appeal to families and tourists from all over the world.”
The official highlighted Bahrain’s role in providing surreal landscapes and exceptional venues with an international highly-ranked tourism institute, islands, beaches, the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), and heritage-based locations to host such exotic weddings.
This, Dr Qaedi said, makes Bahrain a favourable place for organising such weddings with well-known hotel chains assisting planners and offering wedding parties or pre-wedding events, in addition to the availability of Bahraini wedding specialists.
Meanwhile, BTEA adviser Dr Ali Follad pointed out that in a very short period of time the authority managed to turn the idea of promoting Bahrain as a leading tourist destination for weddings and social occasions into a tremendous trademark in this regard on the regional map by targeting international and GCC markets.
“These efforts are part of BTEA’s endeavours to provide the necessary support to easily organise weddings in the kingdom,” he added.
“The authority is playing a pivotal role in planning and collaborating with interested parties, working collectively to organise the logistics services, select locations, and connecting suppliers and specialists.”
The GDN reported earlier this month that the Indian External Affairs (Foreign) Ministry’s consular, passports, visa and overseas Indian affairs secretary Dr Ausaf Sayeed said Bahrain was ‘a unique wedding destination’ and that several Indian families were keen to hold ceremonies in the kingdom.
The Indian official stated there was a growing demand for destination weddings and Bahrain provided all the facilities to host the most important time in a couple’s life.
Most notable was the wedding of the son of Indian businessman Sushil Mantri of Bangalore in 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.
The event attracted more than 800 guests who travelled in a special chartered flight from various Indian cities, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, and from other parts of the world.
The BTEA has launched a dedicated website, bahrainislandwedding.com, to promote the country as a wedding destination and further provide information to the interested families about packages.
In 2019, Bahrain received the “Most Promising New Destination for Indian Weddings” in WOW Awards and Convention Asia 2019.
According to the BTEA, Indian weddings are the most common in Bahrain, followed by weddings from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UK, the UAE, and the US.
Bahrain’s tourism sector attracted $291 million (BD110m) in direct investments during the first three quarters of 2022, according to Bahrain’s Economic Development Board.
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