The hospitality and tourism industry plays an important role in the economic development of a country as it stimulates new economic activities. Some of these activities can be identified as increase in employment opportunities, economic diversification, infrastructure development, and increased spending in the host region of the country.
However, the industry has its own set of challenges working against it. Ask any hotel chain owner or even a budget hotel owner and s/he will tell you just how difficult it is to please a customer. The most common challenges faced by the hospitality sector are:
- Meeting customer expectations for better quality services at lower price
- Continuously meeting guests’ requirements and maintaining 100% satisfaction
- Ensuring that the guests visit again
- Making existing and prospective customers aware of the unique offerings
- Coming up with innovative and new ideas to keep customers engaged
The above mentioned advantages and challenges are universal in nature. This article talks about the challenges and ‘plus points’ unique to the hospitality and tourism sector of Bahrain apart from the efforts taken to promote and develop the industry.
A new identity
If we take Bahrain’s case, for a very long time tourism activities that happened in Bahrain were not recorded. Despite the lack of data and the challenges stated above, Manama was named the ‘Capital of Gulf Tourism 2016’ by the tourism ministers of the GCC. Post this achievement, the country has planned and even held some projects, events, and exhibitions to encourage intra-regional tourism in the Middle East by showcasing the culture of Bahrain and its tourism potential. Efforts have been doubled to reinforce its image as a thriving tourism destination. In the beginning of 2016, the country unveiled a new brand identity and a brand new slogan ‘Ours. Yours. Bahrain’. This has been done with a focus to diversify the national economy which is majorly dependent on the oil and gas sector. The slogan also identifies with the country’s greatest asset, i.e., its people. Moreover, the country also boasts of having relaxed entry regulations such as Electronic Visa Services and multi-entry visit visa making it easier for people to travel.
Making the most of Bahrain’s strengths
Like we said earlier also, tourism is one of the most important parts of a country’s economy and Bahrain is no exception. It is just that the realization to further build upon its strengths came slightly late. The biggest strength is Gulf Air, which is one of the oldest airlines in the Gulf region. The King Fahd Causeway is a great promoter of tourism connecting Bahrain with the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Another great promoter is the Mina’ Salman seaport serving as the Cruise ship dock for the country.
Increase in the number of tourists
Given all these benefits, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Bahrain receives a huge number of tourists from the Middle East and countries from all over the world. According to the figures revealed by the Bahrain Economic Development Board, the country witnessed an increase of 11 percent in the number of tourists visiting in 2014 and 2015. The sector is forecast to grow further in the coming years.
In an effort to maintain the growth of the sector for the long term, Bahrain has planned a number of initiatives. In January 2016, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, unveiled the project to renovate and revive the Manama Souq, one of the oldest bazaar, and Bab Al Bahrain, a cultural landmark which was earlier a hub of various government administrative offices. Both these sites will act as a great link between the historic nature of the country and its development.
Looking at the growing numbers and efforts on the government’s part, many international hotel chains have come to realize that the potential of Bahrain’s tourism sector is great. Thus, more hotel chains are trying to establish their strong presence in the country. New chains are entering the market and the existing ones are expanding their presence by opening more properties. This has resulted in increased employment opportunities in the hotel industry of the country. Creation of more hotel jobs in Bahrain has further increased the demand for more hospitality talent to meet the needs of the increasing guests. To take care of this need, some hospitality brands have taken the initiative to groom people and prepare them to start an exciting professional journey in the sector.
With so much happening, the tourism and hospitality industry is bound to grow and make an important contribution to Bahrain’s economy in the coming years.
About Megha Raizada –
Megha Raizada is a professional writer working with the premium job portal Naukrigulf.com. She has a keen interest in the global job market, but also loves to keep a track of everything interesting happening around the globe. You can reach her at Twitter and Google+.