Bahrain hotelier calls for infrastructure upgrade
Domain Bahrain MD says poor infrastructure restricts incoming traffic
The Domain Bahrain’s managing director Patrick De Groot believes Bahrain needs to revise its destination development strategy while upgrading the infrastructure.
Speaking to Hotelier Middle East, De Groot said: “Bahrain has been stating that they are the cultural destination of the Middle East. When 60% of your inbound traffic comes over the causeway [that links Saudi Arabia to Bahrain], they are not really coming for the culture; they come to let their hair down, a nice relaxing place to hang out with family and friends. If we don’t realise that as a destination, we are not catering to it.”
De Groot also stated the country needs to improve the existing infrastructure for visitors to the country.
“You have to look at if there are any barriers for that large chunk of traffic to come into the country. If the causeway is not easy to pass from Saudi into Bahrain, then we've got to fix that,” he stated.
De Groot also pointed that easing travel restrictions between GCC countries would attract more visitors. “Looking at how much traffic of GCC local residents and expats travel into Bahrain on a daily basis, why can’t we do that using our identity cards or an e-gate way? Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, all have ID cards and I know there is GCC-wide talk about easing the visa regulations, but it’s already all there. It’s just a matter of getting the obstacle out of the way. We already have the infrastructure but we are not actively using it,” he observed.
Citing Dubai as an example, he said: “If we look at one aspect of Dubai – their airline, the DTCM, the retail sector, the hospitality sector, the local public transport sector... they are all pointing in the same direction, they are all behind one single slogan and that is still very much lacking in Bahrain.”
The Domain Bahrain is a social hotel-member's club concept, which opened in August 2013. The hotel's key feeder markets include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.