Category Archives: Transportation

Spotlight on Bahrain’s Investments in Tourism Infrastructure

Spotlight on Bahrain’s Investments in Tourism Infrastructure

bahrainBahrain is home to one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East. The growth is being driven by an increase in tourism coinciding with significant investments in tourism infrastructure. According to the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, the Kingdom welcomed 12.2 million visitors in 2016—a 6% increase from the previous year—and 12.7 million in 2017. The country is expecting an even larger increase in 2018 with the goal of 15.2 million visitors, the majority of which it hopes to attract from neighboring countries. Moreover, according to the Bahrain Economic Development Board, foreign direct investment in the tourism sector is expected to rise from $300 million to $500 million over the next few years, while billions of dollars will be spent on infrastructure projects to maintain the sector’s growth.

 

King Hamad Causeway

The 25-kilometer King Fahd Causeway, which has connected Saudi Arabia and Bahrain since 1986, witnessed average daily traffic of 31,000 passengers, as of 2016. That figure is expected to double by 2030, according to transportation ministry officials from the two countries. To combat the congestion and provide an additional means of patronage to each country, a collaborative effort has been established to construct an additional road and rail route: the King Hamad Causeway. The causeway, which is expected to cost as much as $5 billion, will be funded by Gulf Arab states, as well as private firms, who will also share a portion of the profits upon completion.

The four-lane road causeway will run parallel to the King Fahd Causeway, while a 70-kilometer railway will be installed that will connect freight facilities at Bahrain’s Khalifa bin Salman port and a passenger terminal in Salmabad to the Saudi railway system. While the logistics of the project aren’t expected to be fully detailed until later in 2018, the projections are that the railway will carry 8 million passengers and 13 million tonnes of bulk freight per year.

 

Airport Modernization Program

The Bahrain International Airport (BIA) has a capacity of 9 million passengers per year. In an effort to meet the challenges that come with an increase in tourism, the Bahrain Airport Company has developed a comprehensive, 20-year airport modernization program that includes the expansion of the existing passenger terminal and the construction of a new one. Construction began in February 2016, and the new terminal is expected to open by 2020. Once completed, BIA will have a capacity of 14 million passengers per year.

Bahrain International
Image by Bahrain International Airport | Flickr

The new terminal is expected to be four times the size of the current airport and will feature a 4,600-square-meter departure hall, two premium-class check-in halls, and an arrival area complete with eight baggage reclaim belts, five E-gates, and 36 passport control booths. Other planned upgrades and features include 108 check-in desks, 28 security lanes, 24 jetty-served departure gates, a fully automated baggage handling system, and upwards of 7,000 car parking spaces. The terminal, which has attained LEED gold certification for its energy- and water-efficient design practices, will also feature the latest technological advancements in passenger security. The $1.1 billion project is being primarily funded by a $919 million grant from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

 

Malls and Shopping Centers

mallIn addition to transportation-related infrastructure projects designed to drive tourism, Bahrain will soon become the home of a $137 million, 26,754-square-meter retail shopping center in the heart of Dilmunia Island. The Mall of Dilmunia will include more than 200 retail outlets, including a variety of merchants who will be new to the country. Developers promise modern and futuristic architecture with a family-oriented ambience fostered by its educational entertainment facilities, rooftop cafes, an indoor ice rink, and a 16-meter high cylindrical aquarium complete with a variety of aquatic life that will be visible from each level of the mall.

 

The announcement of the project was made in 2017—two years after the completion of the Dragon City Mall—and it is one of three planned retail shopping destinations in the country, with the other two being the $159 million Avenues Mall at Bahrain Bay and the Marassi Galleria shopping complex. “The Kingdom of Bahrain is historically and culturally rooted in family values and therefore is to be developed as an island for family tourism this year forward,” said the Mall of Dilmunia chairman Shaikh Khalid Bin Mohamed Al-Khalifa, adding that it the mall is designed to serve as a family destination.

 

Economic Impact

Bahrain had the fastest-growing economy of all six Gulf Cooperation Council countries in 2017, with 3.9 percent growth in real GDP, primarily facilitated by the expansion of the tourism sector. Total visitor expenditures increased by 8.9 percent, and the average length of stay rose by 2.5 percent to 2.82 days, as compared with 2016. In total, the tourism and hospitality sectors contributed approximately 6.3 percent to Bahrain’s GDP in 2017, and that number is expected to rise with increased investments in tourism infrastructure.

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Entertainment Infrastructure

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Entertainment Infrastructure

Saudi Arabia’s economic growth was stagnant in 2016 and 2017. However, the Kingdom’s government announced its highest-ever budget in early 2018 and, among other measures, its effort to diversify its economy stands out. Whereas the production and sale of oil was a major facilitator of economic growth in the past, the development of mega-cities is… Continue Reading

How Is Lebanon Improving Its Transportation Systems?

How Is Lebanon Improving Its Transportation Systems?

Lebanon has a network of roads extending beyond 7,000 kilometers. However, because of a lack of funding, they are falling into decline. Many aging roads are simply not being maintained and others remain severely damaged from the nation’s 15-year civil war. Its railway system was also greatly affected by the conflict. What was once a… Continue Reading

4 Ongoing Mega Projects in Turkey You Need to Know About

4 Ongoing Mega Projects in Turkey You Need to Know About

Since the turn of the 21st century, Turkey has made substantial investments in ambitious infrastructure projects, and that trend is going to continue beyond 2018. In the past decade and a half alone, the Middle Eastern country has spent nearly $100 billion to construct new roadways, tunnels, airports, bridges, and railways in an effort to… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about Qatar’s $22 Billion Expressway Project

What You Need to Know about Qatar’s $22 Billion Expressway Project

Qatar has been busy implementing widespread infrastructure projects across a variety of sectors. As the designated host country for the 2020 FIFA World Cup, the nation is building a number of new stadiums as well as local roads and expressways. One of the most important of these projects is the Qatar Expressway Project. At a… Continue Reading

Al-Maktoum International Airport’s Expansion – What You Need to Know

Al-Maktoum International Airport’s Expansion – What You Need to Know

More than 90 million passengers traveled to and from Dubai’s two international airports—Al-Maktoum International Airport and Dubai International Airport—in 2017. The number is expected to rise significantly in the near future due in part to the continued expansion of Al-Maktoum International. Here are a few important things you need to know in regards to Al-Maktoum… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro Project

What You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro Project

Despite being home to more than 6 million citizens, the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh lacks a major public transportation system. However, that won’t be the case by early 2019, as the Riyadh Metro Project is expected to be completed by then and, in turn, expected to significantly alleviate traffic congestion on the city’s streets.… Continue Reading

Spotlight – Egypt’s Wonderful New City of the Future

Spotlight – Egypt’s Wonderful New City of the Future

The most-populated city in Egypt, Cairo serves as the country’s administrative and financial capital, but this won’t be the case for much longer. In March 2015, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced plans to develop a New Administrative Capital, which will stress sustainability, place emphasis on technology in design, ecology, and culture practices, and alleviate national… Continue Reading

This Is How Dubai Is Going Green

This Is How Dubai Is Going Green

Dubai is a city known for attaining big achievements at a rapid pace. While the city was primarily known as a small trading port and fishing hub prior to the 1960s, the Middle East’s bourgeoning oil and real estate industries have spurred incredible growth in what is now one of the world’s most technologically advanced,… Continue Reading

7 Facts You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro

7 Facts You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro

The Middle East is seeing rapid infrastructure development, with many major cities working to adapt to rapidly changing times. In Saudi Arabia, the capital city and bustling metropolitan hub of Riyadh is currently executing an innovative transportation plan to respond to its surging population and ensure that all residents can travel the city safely and… Continue Reading