The ministerial committee, which was first proposed following a meeting between the Crown Prince and the
It will work to strengthen the country's institutional and legislative framework in support of the tourism industry,
"The move involves establishing a tourism development fund for
"This will be a dedicated fund for product development, marketing and capacity building - primarily funded by the five per cent tourism tax."
The Bahrain Tourism Strategy 2015-2018 was unveiled last week by Culture Minister
It aims to increase tourism's contribution to the economy through a variety of methods - such as developing unique products and experiences that make
Public-private partnerships are also key to the proposals, Dr Abdulaziz said, adding that a task force would be set up to follow through on the strategy's recommendations - alongside training sessions for tourism sector staff, starting in October.
"We need to create and promote a tourism-friendly milieu based on sound environmental, social and cultural practices," said Dr Abdulaziz.
"We hope to develop a range of bankable projects in collaboration with the
Despite tourism's relatively low contribution to
"The sector experienced a decline of 17pc in 2011 due to the political instability but started its rebound in 2012, demonstrating resilience," she said, adding that capital investment in tourism in
Challenges faced by the industry, as identified by hoteliers and tour operators, include an insufficient provision of tour opportunities for visitors and a lack of differentiation between
These problems - coupled with an "outdated tourism law" and low customer service standards outside of hotels - are hampering
Limited international airport capacity with a lack of direct services to long-haul markets is also an issue.
"These lead us to depend on other GCC hubs for long-haul markets," she said.
"There is a high dependency on one market segment in particular - bachelors from Saudi - and a lack of training opportunities for public officials involved in managing the tourism sector and limited public-private sector co-ordination and co-operation only add to the challenges."
The GDN reported last Sunday on
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