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New panel bid to attract business

Bahrain News
Sun, 06 Mar 2016
By Mohammed Al A’Ali


Bahrain: A new investment panel may be set up soon to help suggest strategies and ideas to attract business and visitors to Bahrain.

Southern Municipal Council chairman Ahmed Al Ansari has submitted a proposal in this regard to the Cabinet for review.

If found viable the proposal will be referred either to the National Assembly or given the go-ahead by the government as an executive committee.

Lack of proper planning has meant that Bahrain is missing out on investment opportunities despite having what it takes to attract major events and superstars, said Mr Al Ansari.

Attractions

“The best two attractions in Bahrain in a year are the Formula One Grand Prix, with the accompanying musical and cultural events, and the Spring of Culture festival.

“The Bahrain International Circuit is used for a total of 30 days throughout the year, which is a waste, considering it has the potential for much more.

“The F1 earns Bahrain millions in a week, but nothing is built on it to get millions more throughout the year.

“Secondly, why can’t we bring Kadim Al Sahir every year instead of every three years?

“He is like gold. He can draw a full house every time he performs, even if it is daily. People from all across the Gulf come to watch him perform.”

The Iraqi singer, songwriter and poet returns to Bahrain as part of this year’s Spring of Culture festival, after a sold-out performance in 2013.

Mr Al Ansari said proper investment planning doesn’t cost money; instead, it generates money.

“The last time the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) came to Bahrain was in 1997. Tickets were sold within an hour and 20,000 fans packed the Bahrain National Stadium on a Thursday night.

“So where are they now? They go to our neighbours – in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia every year. We started it but never built on it.

“We should be negotiating to get them for a live event here during weekends.

“Why not show some optimism?

“WWE superstars Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Kalisto and AJ Styles, amongst others, are guaranteed to ensure huge sales for any merchandise that holds their name or has their pictures.”

Mr Al Ansari said the new panel was necessary to pave way for future investments that are not dependent on constructing something, but on attractions.

“Investing in property in Bahrain lacks strategic thinking, but the panel can start with the easiest and that’s getting star attractions,” he said.

“The game between Bahrain and Colombia in March last year was a sell-out success because Colombian players were in some of the top European clubs; just imagine how much could be made if Bahrain hosted Argentina.

“Simple ideas can be put forward through e-mails or agents.

The panel can be made responsible for anything that Bahrain misses out.”

mohammed@gdn.com.bh

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