''Dream'' resort planned for Bahrain's once-disputed Hawar islands
Bahrain's housing ministry has drawn up plans for a resort city on the Hawar islands, dubbed "the Islands of Dreams", following a settlement with Qatar on the territory, a newspaper reported Friday, July 6.
"The idea is to create a resort city and concentrate development on the north-west side of the islands, while leaving the southern part undisturbed," said Brian Dent, the ministry's special project manager.
The project, which will put an emphasis on environmental tourism, will take 10-15 years to complete and be a joint government venture with private companies, Dent told the Bahrain Tribune.
A Bahraini official said in May there were plans to develop the islands with "more hotels, chalets and a new port."
Bahrain, with its 33 islands, currently only has two seafront hotel resorts and seven five-star hotels but has embarked on an ambitious one-billion-dollar tourism project to build a string of artificial islands.
As the only Gulf Arab state not to export oil, Bahrain is counting on tourism to diversify sources of revenue. It attracted 3.33 million visitors in 2000, an increase of 9.5 percent over the previous year.
The World Court endorsed Bahrain's sovereignty over the Hawar islands in mid-March after a 60-year-old dispute with Qatar. ― (AFP, Manama)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)