Bahrain's information minister Dr Mohammed bin Abdulghaffar has said that his ministry was currently studying 35 proposals from Bahraini and foreign investors to set up four- and five- star hotels which should give a big boost to plans for a "clean tourism" in the kingdom.
In an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat, the Bahraini minister said that the era of substandard tourism was over in the kingdom, where night clubs had operated for years without any supervision.
According to him, the new strategy to offer clean tourism was meant to transform Bahrain into a place for family tourism. The goal was to reorganize and diversify facilities to create a high standard of tourism environment for residents and visitors.
In this context, Dr Abdulghaffar said the kingdom organized a spring festival every year which showcased a diversity of cultures and events of international standards. The minister added that the decision to reorganize tourism in the kingdom should not drive away investors, but if they decided to leave Bahrain, the values will not be compromised for the sake of attracting investment.
Asked whether these decisions on tourism were being guided by religious groups, Dr Abdulghaffar said the kind of decisions he had taken will develop clean tourism. He also stressed that the nightclubs at four- and five-star hotels offered high-quality shows without any violation of guidelines.
In this regard, he said the government will not renew the licenses of night clubs in one- and two-star hotels, which number about 65, since they depended entirely on their clubs and brought a "bad reputation" to the Bahraini tourism sector.
He said that disputes on this issue were the result of differences among various interested factions but the government policy of cleaning the tourism sector was final and will go ahead.