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Bahrain to gain 1,000 extra tourism jobs in next three years

Formula One fans pack the stands for the Bahrain Grand Prix in March. The 2022 race had a record attendance Dppi/DPPI/LiveMedia/NurPhoto
Formula One fans pack the stands for the Bahrain Grand Prix in March. The 2022 race had a record attendance
  • The kingdom’s Economic Development Board made the forecast
  • Eight tourism companies invested $291m in first nine months of 2022
  • Visitor numbers and hospitality revenues have all risen

Bahrain’s tourism sector is expected to gain more than 1,000 jobs after the Gulf kingdom attracted direct investments of $291 million during the first nine months of 2022.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board said the investments came from eight travel and hospitality-related companies expanding or entering Bahrain for the first time. They are expected to generate around 1,090 jobs over the next three years.

Munther Al Mudawi, executive director of business development for tourism at the development board, said: “We are pleased to witness this momentum in the tourism sector post Covid-19.

“All the indicators [are] showing that we are in the right direction to recover, and with our four-year tourism strategy under the economic recovery plan, we are hoping to attract even more investments and welcome 14 million tourists by 2026.”

The strategy has four main objectives: to increase tourism’s contribution to GDP to 11.4 percent in 2026; highlight Bahrain’s position as a global tourism hub; increase the number of targeted countries to attract more visitors; and diversify tourism products.

Shopping Mall, Shop, Airport
Moda Mall, a luxury shopping centre in Manama, also draws tourists to Bahrain

Bahrain had 6.9 million visitors in the first nine months of 2022, according to the Economic Development Board. by the end of September. For the first half of the year, the hospitality and hotel sector recorded around 5.9 million tourist nights and total tourism revenues stood at about $1.7 billion.

In total, Bahrain attracted $921 million in direct investment from 66 companies during the first nine months of the year, the board said. The investments are expected to generate over 4,700 jobs in key sectors, including financial services, ICT, logistics and manufacturing, as well as tourism.

CBRE figures for the second quarter showed about 2.4 million tourist arrivals, a 38 percent uptick on the previous quarter. Tourism revenue for Q2 totalled $876 million, up 562 percent annually and up 13.2 percent on Q1.

The quarter-on-quarter growth was achieved even though the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, held in March, had record attendance. The audience for the Formula One race was up 50 percent on pre-pandemic levels.

In the hotel sector, revenue per available room, average daily rates and occupancy all improved in the first half of this year compared to 2021. Occupancy rose 3 percent, while revenue jumped 31 percent and rates increased 22.4 percent.

The figures come as hospitality giant Four Seasons has unveiled plans to build bespoke homes in Bahrain Bay as the demand for branded residences gathers pace in the Middle East.

It has teamed up with Bahrain real estate company Bayside Developments for the Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay project.

Buyers of the 112 homes will be able to access the neighbouring Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.

“As we expand our private residences portfolio globally, we seek locations where our luxury lifestyle offering can be thoughtfully integrated and where we can build upon the success of existing hotels and resorts,” said Bart Carnahan, president, global business development and portfolio management, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.