As Middle East countries look towards more sectors other than oil for economic growth, Bahrain is also aiming to position itself as a leading country for hosting events in the region.
It has identified the MICE sector as one of the primary growth pillars of the kingdom, and showcased its growth in this area as well as tourism at the 31st IBTM World in Barcelona, Spain last week.
The main highlight is the new Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Centre, which will be built near the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir - home of the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix - and slated for completion by the end of 2022.
The exhibition centre will feature 10 halls covering 130,000sqm of usable floor area, while the convention centre covers 25,000sqm and includes a grand hall that can be divided into three separate halls and 26 small and medium-sized meeting and conference rooms.
Shops, restaurants and other accompanying services are also planned for the new facility, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art display and technical services.
Fawzi Tulefat, director of exhibitions and conferences marketing and promotion at Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) said, "With the growing infrastructure development for tourism and MICE, we seek to attract large-scale exhibitions and conventions to be hosted in Bahrain and strengthen Bahrain's position in the industry."
In November, Bahrain outlined its vision for its MICE sector at the inaugural Gulf Property Show, which highlighted present and future real estate and property developments in Bahrain and the Gulf.
This was also part of Bahrain's 2030 Economic Vision to further develop the country's tourism sector under the slogan of "Ours. Yours.".
"Our strategy focuses on enhancing the kingdom's position as a leading hub within the MICE sector by hosting major events, exhibitions and trade events throughout the year," said Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, CEO of BTEA.