The Kingdom of Bahrain is keen to attract more visitors to the destination from the India market. Arzan Khambatta, Head- Tourism Services, VFS Global, says that the destination is already well-known in the India market, and hence their primary focus will be to build a brand recall for Bahrain as the ideal leisure, MICE, and wedding destination for Indians.
Bahrain, the island nation and India have always shared a close trade relationship for many years now. Bahrain has been promoting itself as a short-haul destination from India with a focus on MICE and business travellers. As a wedding destination, it has positioned itself as a much-loved fairy-tale dream destination. From a leisure point of view, Bahrain has a little of something for every traveller.
“To provide tourists with an unforgettable vacation experience in Bahrain, we strive to highlight the area’s abundance of attractions and range of services. Our goal is to rebuild trade relations with regional stakeholders and promote Bahrain through various online and offline marketing channels, including social media and public relations. The destination will be promoted through various B2B and B2C activities such as sales visits, trainings, multi-city roadshows, familiarisation trips, joint co-ops with various travel agents, a few exciting contests, celebrity/influencer engagements, and a slew of other promotional activities. In doing so, we hope to triple the number of visitors to Bahrain soon,” conveys Arzan.
The visa application process for Bahrain is simple and Indian travellers who wish to visit the destination for tourism purposes can apply for an e-visa. The cost of a single-entry visa is BHD 9 for a 2-week stay, and the documents need to be uploaded on the e-visa portal. Indian citizens with a valid visit visa to the UAE, UK, USA, KSA (excluding Hajj and Umrah visa), Schengen, or USA Green Card can also apply for an e-visa on arrival in Bahrain for BHD 5.
From a COVID-19 protocol perspective, for visitors, the Kingdom of Bahrain has finished its opening process and the destination is ready to welcome Indian travellers. Arzan shares, “Both the ability to enter the country and the ability to hold significant gatherings and festivities are unrestricted. For visitors entering Bahrain, there is no vaccination requirement, nor do they have to undergo any quarantine or a PCR test on arrival.”
In the next five years, Bahrain plans to double the size of its tourism sector. Several initiatives have been taken to strategically boost tourism within the country. Investments of over $10 million have been made towards tourism infrastructure like museums, hotels, new attractions, etc., to attract 14 million visitors to Bahrain by 2026. “Bahrain as a destination has invested in several ecotourism projects, such as the brand-new premium and unique eco-tourism project in the region, the Mantis Bahrain Hawar Island Hotel, and Resort, which is set to open in 2024. The property will be surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary, making it one of the first such environmentally focused projects and a one-of-a-kind destination in the Middle East,” informs Arzan.
Bahrain as a destination has a lot to offer its visitors in terms of experiences. From heritage to culture, food to adventure sports, it has it all. The destination has many architectural marvels and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the most unique things to do in Bahrain is the pearl diving experience, where travellers can collect 60 oysters and if they find a pearl, it is theirs to keep. Not to mention the adrenaline rush of watching a Formula One race at the Bahrain International Circuit. In Bahrain, one can even defy gravity at GRAVITY, an indoor skydiving facility with one of the world’s tallest indoor wind tunnels.
Sharing more on the destination, Arzan says, “Bahrain is a multifaceted destination with something to offer people of all generations. The main attractions are the stunning and pristine beaches, dazzling nightlife, great food, and direct flight connections with numerous Indian cities. Whether you want a luxurious vacation or a budget-friendly vacation, Bahrain, with its variety of options for accommodation, food, and activities, can accommodate both. Of course, it depends on your travel preferences. Bahrain has many high-end luxurious 5-star and 4-star properties, as well as many reasonably priced properties with world-class facilities. You won’t have to worry about the cost of accommodation in Bahrain because it caters to all budgets and the hotels will ensure you have the best experience. Also, with an endless list of indoor and outdoor activities, this country will spoil you for choice.”