By Mandeep Singh, Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain
Mar. 24--MANAMA -- Bahrain earned just over $1,746 million (BD658m) from incoming tourists last year, it was revealed yesterday.
Bahrainis spent $677m (BD255m) as tourists abroad last year, said Reed Travel Exhibitions group exhibitions director Mark Walsh.
He was quoting figures from global market research giant Euromonitor, as he addressed a Press conference to announce Bahrain's participation in the annual Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in May.
A delegation of 20 exhibitors, spearheaded by the Culture and Information Ministry will take part in the show, from May 4 to 7.
Bahrain has long been a staunch supporter of the Arabian Travel Market and both the government and the private sector realise the potential it commands as a key business vehicle, Mr Walsh said at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel Residence & Spa.
"This year's event is likely to play an even greater role than ever before in helping us all to develop new ways of catering to an ever more demanding tourist," he said.
"The event is specifically designed to ignite discussion and debate, create networking opportunities and educate and, as always, we have invested considerable resources in attracting the right type of visitors to the show.
"This has been exemplified by the number of quality visitors represented by a senior management demography."
Trade visitors from Bahrain will have unrivalled possibilities to identify and pursue outbound and inbound offerings from across the globe, said Mr Walsh.
Ministry executive director and adviser Dr Heba Aziz said this year's show was being widely anticipated within the tourism industry.
"It is a key pillar in our comprehensive national reform programme to make Bahrain a high-quality leisure and business tourism destination for the outbound markets of the Middle East, Europe and Asia," she said.
"Attending exhibitions gives us the opportunity to introduce Bahrain as an inbound GCC tourist destination in its own right."
She said currently Bahrain had many visitors coming for one day only. "We want to encourage them to stay longer and explore all that this country has to offer."
She said last year's event was a huge success and she had no doubt that this year would once again give an invaluable boost to their aspirations.