Category Archives: Infrastructure

What You Need to Know about Bahrain’s Booming Tourism Sector

What You Need to Know about Bahrain’s Booming Tourism Sector

Bahrain has high aspirations in regard to its tourism sector and is spending billions of dollars in tourism infrastructure to meet its goals. By 2020, the Middle East country anticipates the sector contributing more than $1 billion to its GDP.

By that time, it will also have spent more than $13 billion on related projects. These include a $1.1 billion upgrade to the Bahrain International Airport as well as a plethora of new retail and luxury hotel developments.

During the first three quarters of 2017, the country’s restaurants and hotels segment expanded by 11.4 percent compared to the same period in 2016 and contributed 3.6 percent to its overall GDP growth. Those numbers are expected to increase significantly with further transportation-related infrastructure spending to attract tourists from neighboring Saudi Arabia. Here’s what you need to know about some of these developments.

 

Transportation Infrastructure Investments

Combined annual visitors to Bahrain via airline travel or the King Fahd Causeway from Saudi Arabia have increased in the past two years. However, airport arrivals declined slightly in 2017 to 2.6 million passengers. It is hoped that a $1.1 billion Bahrain International Airport expansion project will significantly increase the national airport’s terminal and transport gateways capacity.

The project is expected to be complete by 2019 and will see annual airport capacity increase from 10 million to 14 million passengers. Moreover, Bahrain Airport Company, which operates the facility, anticipates a three-fold increase in direct flight offerings coinciding with the completion of the project and the purchase of seven new Boeing aircraft by Gulf Air.

 

 

causeway
Image by S.Raj | Flickr

 

Built in 1986, the King Fahd Causeway has since been the primary means of transportation for Saudi residents seeking vacation in Bahrain. In 2017, more than 12.7 million inbound visitors traveled on the causeway. This represented an increase of almost 3.9 percent from the year prior.

While the causeway is expected to maintain an integral role in Bahrain’s tourism sector, a second option, the King Hamad Causeway, is expected to be completed by 2021. According to government estimates, it could double traffic volumes between the two kingdoms by 2030. The $5 billion project will also see Bahrain connected to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail network with a proposed terminus to be constructed in Salmabad.

 

Increase in Retail Destinations

According to a 2017 survey from the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, nearly one-quarter of all visitors to Bahrain report shopping as the central purpose of their visit. As a result, seven of the country’s retail destinations reported an excess of 1 million annual visitors in 2016. The City Centre Bahrain attracted 15 million people. For comparison’s sake, Bahrain has a population of 1.4 million.

Recognizing the importance of its retail sector, the government has allocated some of its $13 billion tourism-related infrastructure funding to the development of retail destinations. These include The Avenues Mall and Dilmunia Mall.

The former opened in late 2017 and, by 2020, it will be directly connected to a nearby Hilton Hotel and Residencies. Other in-development destinations include the 265,000-square-meter KFCDF waterfront retail district and the 183,000-square-meter Marassi Galleria mall.

In regard to the hospitality sector, Bahrain, as of June 2017, had more than 190 resorts and hotels, 18 of which were considered five-star hotels by the international real estate agency CBRE. By 2021, CBRE estimates that the sector will have added an additional 5,100 five-star hotel rooms.

 

Bahrain
Image by Francisco Anzola | Flickr

 

Bahrain Bay

Perhaps one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country is the 432,000-square-meter, $2.5 billion Bahrain Bay development. This project should not only drive tourism but also promote economic growth and prosperity throughout the region.

The island, which will be connected to the mainland by way of causeways, will be populated with residential towers, luxury hotels, parks, and numerous cultural venues. The project has been in development since 2006, but has encountered delays primarily caused by economic challenges as a result of declining oil prices and the GCC crisis.

In November 2017, CEO of the development, Gagan Suri, said that the project was approximately 18 percent complete. It is expected to fully developed by 2030.

 

Water Warden City

In addition to Bahrain Bay, the country has high hopes for Water Garden City. It expects the development to facilitate an increase in economic and cultural growth by attracting prominent investors.

Located in Seef District alongside a marina and beach, the mixed-use project development is strategically-positioned to serve as a prime tourist destination. It will contain waterfront restaurants and luxury hotels.

Divided into nine neighborhoods with their own unique appeal and features, Water Garden City will also include luxury duplexes and office buildings. Phase 1 of the development project, which included the Marina Promenade dining strip, was nearing completion as of May 2018.

Everything You Need to Know about Kuwait’s Infrastructure Spending

Everything You Need to Know about Kuwait’s Infrastructure Spending

Home to more than 6 percent of the world’s crude oil reserves, Kuwait has built a relatively strong economy based upon oil production and distribution, with petroleum accounting for more than 90 percent of the nation’s export revenues. However, realizing the need to diversify its economy, Kuwait’s leaders are now heavily investing in civic- and… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about MENA Infrastructure and Climate Change

What You Need to Know about MENA Infrastructure and Climate Change

Worldwide temperatures in summer 2018 have highlighted the impact of climate change and stressed the urgency for global leaders and organizations to expedite and improve their carbon-reduction solutions. Sweden, for instance, is in the middle of its hottest-recorded summer in more than 100 years, while Japan is experiencing dangerously high temperatures up to 41 degrees… Continue Reading

Spotlight: Important Airport Projects in the Middle East

Spotlight: Important Airport Projects in the Middle East

More than 206 million passengers flew to and from the Middle East in 2016, which represented a 9 percent increase from the year prior. This number is expected to rise significantly over the course of the next two decades, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The organization estimates that the total market size… Continue Reading

Spotlight on the Development of 5G in the Middle East

Spotlight on the Development of 5G in the Middle East

Smartphones and other mobile devices have become increasingly ubiquitous in today’s society. Thus, it is important that network providers adapt to the changing telecommunications landscape by offering technology that will improve download speeds and allow for greater connectivity between devices. In recent years, 3G and 4G networks have proven capable of connecting people who are… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the GCC Rail Network

What You Need to Know about the GCC Rail Network

The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises six Middle Eastern countries and was established in 1981 to achieve political and cultural unity among the participating nations, which share a belief in Islam. While the countries—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—have political, economic, religious, and cultural ties, they will soon be further… Continue Reading

Everything You Need to Know about the Latest Saudi High-Speed Railway

Everything You Need to Know about the Latest Saudi High-Speed Railway

In addition to shifting its economy away from its reliance on oil, Saudi Arabia is implementing numerous rail transport projects. This will not only diversify its economy, but alleviate traffic congestion on its roads. The Saudi Landbridge Project will connect the capital, Riyadh, with Jeddah on the Red Sea coast. While it will primarily be… Continue Reading

Spotlight – 4 of the Latest Infrastructure Developments in the Middle East

Spotlight – 4 of the Latest Infrastructure Developments in the Middle East

As a result of oil prices rising following successive years of poor performance, several Middle Eastern countries are leveraging the increased revenue to invest in infrastructure projects with the potential to diversify their respective economies and shift away from a reliance on oil. The following are four recent infrastructure-related developments that will impact the economy… Continue Reading

Spotlight on Promising Infrastructure Developments in Jordan

Spotlight on Promising Infrastructure Developments in Jordan

In order to stimulate economic growth, the Middle Eastern country of Jordan is focused on infrastructure projects. Unrest in neighboring Iraq and Syria has significantly affected economic growth in Jordan, as the country’s debt has reached $40 billion, while it is also operating on a $700 million budget deficit. Moreover, Jordan’s debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio is at… Continue Reading

4 Telecom Developments and Trends You Need to Know about

4 Telecom Developments and Trends You Need to Know about

The world is continually adapting to advancements in technology, and nowhere is this more evident than in the telecom sector. Prominent service providers are growing in size and scope and implementing new technology to appease existing customers and attract new ones. The following are four recent developments that are shaping the telecom industry in the… Continue Reading