On the occasion of Arab Tourism Day, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) held a celebration under the patronage of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Mr. Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani, on Monday 25 February 2019 at ‘Vatel Hospitality and Tourism Business School’ in Al Jasrah. The event was held in the presence of the Chief Executive Officer of BTEA, H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, several dignitaries in the tourism sector along with several representatives in the tourism sector including hotels and restaurants.

During the ceremony, two panel discussions were held. The first focused on ” “Ecotourism: Mangroves and Pearl Diving Projects”, in which the Director of the Research Department at the Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hamad Al Mahmeed, the Head of the Species Conservation Department at the Supreme Council for Environment, Mr. Ali Mansoor Abbas and the Director of Tourism Marketing and Promotions at BTEA, Mr. Yousef Al Khan took part in.

The second panel discussion focused on “Hospitality Sector: Sustainable Human Resources”, in which the Director of Vatel, Mr. Julian Lescott, Managing Director of Bahrain Hotels Company, Mr. Mohammed Buzizi and the Community Engagement Manager at Tamkeen, Mr. Ahmed Janahi.

“Through celebrating Arab Tourism Day, we aim to highlight the cultural and tourism landmarks in the Arab countries, within the sustainable development through various programs that come within the objectives of the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism and the Arab Tourism Organization. We will be launching the amphibious buses by mid-2019 to facilitate the movement of visitors and residents in the Kingdom,” said the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Mr. Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani.

“The event was held under the slogan “Tourism and Sustainable Development”, in response to the invitation of the Arab Tourism Organization to celebrate the birth of Arab traveler Ibn Battuta, which falls on the 25th of February. The tourism sector is constantly expanding and promoting innovation, not only in terms of conferences and exhibitions but also developing environmental and ecotourism, sports, and cultural tourism.

“Our annual celebration of Arab Tourism Day comes in line with the Authority’s strategy to develop the tourism sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is an important sector that contributes to the GDP, further increasing employment rates and supporting the national economy,” said the Chief Executive Officer of BTEA, H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa.

“The BTEA has been keen to celebrate and recognize various regional events and initiatives and seeks to achieve sustainability under the guidance of the wise leadership while implementing the 2030 Economic Vision, thereby contributing to strengthening the status of the Kingdom of Bahrain as a leading tourist destination at both regional and international levels,” he added.

Further to this, the CEO of BTEA, H.E Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, announced the latest tourist developments in the Kingdom of Bahrain which included an unprecedented growth rate in 2018 with the= total number of of visitors reaching 12 million, an increase of 5.9% compared to 2017. The number of international tourists coming to Bahrain reached 13.7 million in 2018, an increase of 7.6% compared to 2017. The average length of stay for each tourist was 2.9 nights in 2018, an increase of 3.8% compared to the previous year, while the tourist nights amounted to 12.8 million nights in 2018, an increase of 3.7% compared to 2017.

“The BTEA has been keen to celebrate and recognize various regional events and initiatives and seeks to achieve sustainability under the guidance of the wise leadership while implementing the 2030 Economic Vision, thereby contributing to strengthening the status of the Kingdom of Bahrain as a leading tourist destination at both regional and international levels,” he added.

This year, the theme of the Arab Tourism Day aims to implement the principles of sustainable development in different tourism destinations, to ensure their long-term sustainability without compromising the specific environmental, cultural, social and economic components of each country in addition to establishing guidelines for sustainable development and sustainable management practices applicable to all forms and aspects of tourism in all destinations, including mass tourism and other tourist patterns. Sustainability principles address the environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects of tourism development to ensure long-term sustainability.