Bahrain Economic Development Board to help plug midscale hotel market gap

A decrease in consumer spending is behind the drive for more midscale properties, says the Board’s director Ali Murtaza

 Ten million of the 12 million vistors to Bahrain are Saudis.
Ten million of the 12 million vistors to Bahrain are Saudis.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) has identified a gap in the country’s beach front, midscale hotel sector, Ali Murtaza, director – real estate investments business development, said, in an exclusive interview with Hotelier Middle East at the recently held Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Ras al Khaimah, UAE.

Murtaza said the reason behind the need for more midscale hotels in the Bahrain is because GGC consumers have less “leisure spends caused by recent, region-wide changes to oil prices and the removal of subsidies which has seen an increase in utility  bills.”

Despite the reduction in spending power, Murtaza said consumers, who are mainly Saudis, are still visiting Bahrain but are seeking less expensive accommodation.

Did you like this story?
Click here for more

“We [Bahrain] get about 12 million visitors a year for a population of 1.5 million. Ten million of those visitor are Saudis. Bahrain is a drive-through destination [for Saudis] and despite their reduced spending power, they have not stopped coming,” he added.

Murtaza went on to say how the main strategy for the EDB is “coming up with mid-scale, beachfront developments."

“When we look at the landscape of Bahrain, we have fantastic Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons, and five star properties on the beach. But in the mid-scale level, we realized there’s a shortage.”

Murtaza also said how EDB is currently working on government-led masterplans in addressing the market gap through looking at the full development of the coastline, which is the west coast of Bahrain 15 minutes from the King Fahd Causeway, a series of bridges and
causeways connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

“[This development] will cater to four, three-star and boutique hotels overlooking the beach,” he said.

He also said that [Bahrain] is looking to expand its network of visitors and too aid this, that the Bahrain Tourism Authority has opened six international offices, including in Russia, the Ukraine, Germany and China.

“we’re looking at bringing all that family market trends in addition to catering towards the existing growing Saudi visitations to Bahrain,” he added.

The EDB is a semi government entity chaired by His Excellency the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman. Murtaza highlighted how the Board consists of relevant ministers on the commerce side, half of whom are “top businessmen and families”.

For all the latest hospitality news from UAE, Gulf countries and around the world, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Most Popular

Newsletter

Reports

Human Capital Report 2017

Human Capital Report 2017

The second annual Hotelier Middle East Human Capital Report is designed to explore the issues, challenges and opportunities facing hospitality professionals responsible for the hotel industry’s most important asset – its people. The report combines the results of Hotelier Middle East's HR Leaders Survey with exclusive interviews with the region's senior human resources directors.

Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016

Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016

The Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016 provides essential business insight into this critical hotel function, revealing a gradual move towards the use of automated management and a commitment to sustainability, concerns over recruitment, retention and staff outsourcing, and the potential to deliver much more, if only the industry's "image problem" can be reversed.

From the edition

From the magazine