Bahrain Aims to Attract 15 Million Tourists a Year by 2022

Published September 2nd, 2019 - 12:00 GMT
The figure stood at 51.1pc in June this year, compared with 39.4pc in June 2018.
The figure stood at 51.1pc in June this year, compared with 39.4pc in June 2018. (Shutterstock)
Hotel room occupancy in June rose 11.7 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

Bahrain is on track to achieve 15 million visitors a year by 2022 based on the performance of the hospitality sector.

{"preview_thumbnail":"…","video_id":"332b5940-4475-4223-8145-3ae1440e586c","player_id":"8ca46225-42a2-4245-9c20-7850ae937431","provider":"flowplayer","video":"Top 10 countries in the world to visit"}

Hotel room occupancy in June rose 11.7 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

The figure stood at 51.1pc in June this year, compared with 39.4pc in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), which calculates the total room revenue for a stay, surged by 28.5pc over the same period – from BD27 to BD35 – according to EY’s Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Hotel Benchmark Survey Report.

Occupancy for the first six months of the year rose 2.3pc to 52pc, from 49.7pc in the first half of 2018.

However, the average room rate remained largely unchanged at BD62.


RevPAR for the first half of 2019 rose 4.5pc to BD32, from BD31 for the first six months of last year.

Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) hospitality and tourism committee member Hameed Al Halwachi told the GDN that while the reported numbers were in line with expectations, Bahrain has the potential to do much better.

“Prior to 2010, average occupancy used to be around 65pc and now that things are stable I feel we can achieve 60pc in 2020 on the back of a slight improvement in economic growth,” he said.

He blamed a lack of co-ordination between stakeholders for the sector punching below its weight.

“I have always said the private sector needs to work closely with government agencies like Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Tamkeen and the EDB for more focused plans and activities,” said Mr Al Halwachi.

“Authorities need to sell Bahrain as a MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) destination and develop more family attractions like beaches, carnivals, and theme parks.”

Property consultancy Cavendish Maxwell said in its first report on Bahrain’s real estate market last month that demand continues to grow for four- and five- star hotels, along with serviced apartments for larger families.

High-quality and mid-range three-star accommodation is also in demand among leisure and business travellers.

However, it found pressure on occupancy levels may continue as more supply opens up.

In May, BTEA chief executive Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa announced 22 new hotels were scheduled to open in the next four years.

Grant Thornton Bahrain senior partner Jatin Karia said the country planned to invest $10 billion in tourism, hospitality and retail in the near future.

“As per Knight Frank, Bahrain currently has around 13,000 rooms (including 11,000 hotel rooms and 2,000 serviced apartments) primarily composed of four- and five-star hotels, which account for 40pc and 39pc of total room supply respectively,” he said.

“An additional 3,300 rooms are set to come on-stream by end-2022, representing a 25pc increase in supply over the next three years.”

Hotelier Middle East last month reported a resurgence in Bahrain’s tourism has seen it outperform other markets in the region, which actually recorded a decline in RevPAR during the first half of 2019.

In fact, it said hotels in Manama recorded their first Q1 increase in RevPAR in five years.

During that period it reported that occupancy levels in the capital city saw a 12.5pc hike to 58.4pc, while average room rates rose by 1.6pc and RevPAR increased by 14.3pc.

The Finance and National Economy Ministry’s quarterly report on the economy found occupancy rates at five-star hotels reached 53pc in Q1, compared to 50pc in the same period last year, while occupancy rates at four-star hotels reached 46pc, compared to 42pc during the same period last year.

Latest BTEA statistics show more than 3.2 million tourists visited Bahrain in the first quarter, while the number of international arrivals reached 3.5m – a 3.1pc increase from last year. There was a 2pc increase in visitors arriving via King Fahad Causeway to 2.8 million, a 3pc increase in arrivals at Bahrain International Airport to 299,196 and an 82pc increase in visitors arriving via Khalifa Bin Salman Port to 81,371.

You may also like