I have already written here on the need to promote tourism within GCC states and the urgency to take decisions at the leader level to increase countries’ income while strengthening their national economy.
Gulf countries have an attractive tourism potential but unfortunately lack the necessary marketing, with Dubai being an exception. Other countries are not working properly on this issue and I know Bahrain, represented by the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry, is participating in very limited exhibitions in Europe. That, clearly, is not enough. Marketing campaigns should be intensive, starting with the Gulf, Arab, European, American, Asian and other countries.
When I travel abroad, I come across many who do not know where Bahrain is and have never heard about it. I have to painstakingly tell them about it and also say it “is one hour from Dubai”.
Dubai has succeeded very well in this aspect thanks to its distinctive marketing plan, which undoubtedly cost the state treasury a lot but at the same time paid off.
During a visit to the United States, I travelled between many cities several hundreds of kilometres apart and it did not cost me much. A return flight ticket from Tampa, Florida, to Las Vegas, which is five-and-a-half hours away, cost me only $115! Unbelievable. And that’s not even BD50.
What I do not understand is why airline tickets between the Gulf countries are expensive. This even though our fuel costs are much less. I am sure I will never get a satisfactory answer for this.
In my opinion, the excessive ticket costs among the GCC countries are the most important concern for most families who wish to travel.
I am not an economist but if we speak logically, these countries can support their economy by focusing on how to exploit this aspect properly. When people travel, they need housing, food, drinks, shopping, transportation, communication. The list goes on. And this leads to a revival of the economy.
In this way, everyone benefits especially because we do not have much purchasing power. We find that everyone depends on the seasons and events to revitalise their business.
Recovery in business and trade is inclusive of the government, institutions and individuals.
The wise government, represented in its various institutions, and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry have great responsibility and challenges to solve this issue and develop an ambitious plan and think outside the box.
Everyone should work collectively and move away from personal interests and this dream is easily attainable.