Given its legacy of warmth and openness, it is hardly surprising that tourism constitutes an important part of Bahrain’s economy. The Kingdom has a strategic focus on developing a robust tourism sector based on diversified hospitality offerings, plus an increased variety of restaurant, retail, and entertainment options.
Every year, more than 12 million tourists from across the GCC and beyond experience the best Bahrain has on offer – a unique island setting, a cosmopolitan society, relaxed way of life, rich history and culture, exciting events, delicious food and great shopping experiences.
The sector’s growth is boosted through the global network of tourism promotion offices with an increased focus on inbound tourism by Bahraini tour operators and the country’s national airline. These efforts are building Bahrain’s reputation globally as a unique tourism destination and have helped rank Bahrain as the number one expat destination in MENA in the 2019 InterNations Expat Survey.
To encourage inbound tourism, Bahrain has revised its Entry Visa Policy allowing leisure and business visitors to enjoy lower visa application fees and extended stays. Bahrain is now offering visa on arrival to 67 countries and e-visa services to 116 more. In addition to this, Bahrain’s national carrier – Gulf Air, has partnered with VFS Global, the world’s largest visa service provider, to offer visas to its passengers online.
Out of the country’s $32 billion infrastructure investments, US$ 13.1 billion is directly related to tourism, ensuring measurable success. More than US$ 10 billion will be pumped into new developments over the next five years, resulting in several new five-star and four-star hotels, and beachfront resorts.
The digitisation of services is swiftly sweeping across the tourism sector, and Bahrain has moved with the trend to offer faster and simpler services to citizens, residents and visitors. The rapid growth in visitors has resulted in more than a million tourists each month. Bahrain’s progressive approach to its tourism sector is demonstrated by the digitalization of services including transportation, restaurant reservations, ticketing, visa applications and hotel booking among others.