Branding Bahrain

10 Sep, '07

This is a very exciting day for me today. I’m sitting with the cream of society (Qassim Haddad is to my left, along with Steve Harrison of the British Embassy and Martin Whitaker from the BIC and Dina Kasrawi of the EDB to my right at the same table, that should give you an idea of how good this is) in a workshop at the luscious Banyan Tree Desert Resort in a workshop about branding Bahrain and its future… Our Bahrain is the emphasis of the brand in portraying the need for the whole country to have a shared vision, and selling it to the outside world is very much a collective effort.

Needless to say, I shall update you with more details later..

Any ideas?

Branding Bahrain keynote speech

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  1. H. says:

    Hmmm.. I wouldn’t want to suggest marketing my new choice of profession XD

    *That’s just for a laugh. Serious thinking is in current progress*

  2. Mahmood, tell them this, we need to brand bahrain as (Bahrain, for you not us).

    lol.

    Enjoy.

  3. ammaro.com says:

    You don’t understand how happy this makes me feel. I think we’ve had a lost vision of what we’re trying to be, and at least this sort of thing can give us some direction. I don’t know how big a scale this is on, but hopefully it can be something with a lot of weight. If there’s any way we can contribute, please us know.

  4. Ammaro, Amen to that.

  5. mahmood says:

    If there’s any way we can contribute, please us know.

    This is what the whole morning was about! They freely admitted that they cannot (and won’t) do this alone. They invited everyone to participate, as Shaikh Mohammed put it:

    a single person (or company or organisation) can’t do everything on it’s own. Every one has a role to play and if everyone (in the community) contributes a little – even at least in a little optimism spreading – then the effect of the swarm will take place and we will achieve the end that all of us are looking forward to.

    I agree with him completely, especially about being pragmatic AND optimistic. I think everyone is fed up of pessimism in this country and it’s high time that we smiled once in a while and assumed that the future will actually be brighter.

    They also freely admitted that there are wrongs in the country and there are things that need fixing, they recognise them and will diligently work on them.

    I agree, and further say that we needn’t approach our problems in a linear fashion; that is, we can’t stop progress because or prerequisites which must be met as the future will come and surpass us regardless of what we do and what stage we are at. Hence, we should think non-linearly and courageously recognise and fix the negatives, while highlighting the positives. This will give us good heart to go forward without being continuously dragged back by heavy baggage.

  6. this is a big step ahead to say the least, and many would want to be involved,So Mahmood, where do we line up?

  7. mahmood says:

    Oh man, there are a lot of things that we all could do; recognising the good and expounding it to our friends and colleagues is one thing, writing about things – as we already do – is another and contributing our ideas – as we have already as well – is another good thing.

    Did you know the the domain name bahrain.com is now registered and active? And did you know that it also contains images and probably soon will probably be morphed into the main site which will broadcast the new brand and identity? Maybe we should start by linking to it on our blogs!

  8. Redbelt says:

    Can I join?
    I really wanna join!

  9. ammaro.com says:

    Astro; well, we’ve managed to plough down any green we’ve had, which was a blessing nature had given us, to make way for buildings, buildings and more buildings. And about the banyan tree resort, I felt very similar to the article writer, I think its stupid and over priced. Thats greed for you. Greed with no brains.

    Well, I guess its time to start fixing things. Mahmood, i’m really interested so would appreciate if you can let me know any way I can contribute. Thanks.

  10. mahmood says:

    Okay, let’s share ideas; here’s mine:

    As bloggers, we coordinate and write/photograph/videocast/podcast about a common subject that helps to show the Bahrain we care about to the world, the good and constructively criticise the bad. For instance if we do want to highlight something that we don’t like, then let’s do it in a way that we suggest a fix or alternatives.

    There are many great things this country stands for and actually have that none of our neighbours have or hope to have and we can capitalise on that.

    If we coordinate our efforts and highlight a single subject we can make a difference; for instance, how about highlighting the great things that happen culturally and socially in Bahrain? A whole month of contributing articles, pictures, podcasts, videocasts, etc about this subject?

    I intend to shoot the Fraisa in Muharraq’s Girga’oun and other celebrations that happen there. I could not hope to cover everything on my own and it would be great if some other bloggers choose another subject that we can all publish about that particular night – for instance I do Muharraq, someone else does Ras Rumman, another does Samaheej, Duraz, Budaiya, Riffa, etc.

    How about this for a start? I am sure you all have other ideas too so let’s share them.

  11. ammaro.com says:

    I’ve already planned a full photo site from everything in Bahrain from the little kids walking around karbabad in Eid to the tree of life, to BIC, to the beaches to the buildings… i’m just waiting to get a new SLR camera first.

  12. Great..

    I’m inspired to write something, I’ll try to capture some nice pictures for the my next topic relating to branding Bahrain and how unique Bahrain and Bahrainis are.

  13. Geart stuff Mahmood and Ammar, lets build on that.

    Mahmood, what about the Muharam Idea I told you about in the bloggers meet, I think that should be nice as well.

  14. Farah Mattar says:

    Hi Mahmood, I’m glad you are excited. I’ve been working on this for the past year and it’s so nice to see everyone ready to do their part and wanting to join in. Let me know what you think after having a look through the brand book.

  15. mahmood says:

    Yes of course Eyad, everything about Bahrain and Bahraini culture should do.

    Farah thanks a lot to you and your colleagues for your combined efforts. I am excited (as if I can hide that!) and will do whatever I can to help.

    I know that the discussion above might not fit exactly into the major brand target audience (what I understood is that the effort will be directed at stakeholders who are investors and FDI) but I think that this on a micro level can help too. It can’t do any harm anyway!

  16. Anonny says:

    There are many great things this country stands for and actually have that none of our neighbours have or hope to have and we can capitalise on that.

    How can that be done when greedy people
    who need a bit more class are covering it
    all with concrete?

  17. mahmood says:

    Go nonlinear… ultimately the environment we create will either sideline them completely, or they themselves will elect to be responsible citizens.

  18. mdc says:

    “ultimately the environment we create will either sideline them completely, or they themselves will elect to be responsible citizens.”

    Yup! You have been saying the same message for and about Bahrain for years. It must feel great to see the progress and to have more voices join in the effort. You do good work, Mahmood.

  19. The Joker says:

    I don’t think its the brand we should focus on. Its the product.

    We should work on reestablishing government’s, quasi government’s, and private sector’s values and principles like honesty, transparency, fairness, rule of law, and human rights to name a few. That will make bahrain look attractive for FDI’s and stakeholders at large.

    Anything else is just the EDB playing in the sand box again.

  20. Ahmad says:

    My suggestion would be that the project be taken on by a Bahraini that feels passionately about Bahrain. Not foreigners like the likes of the heads of EDB. Jordanians and Palestinians and what not!!!!

  21. mahmood says:

    Ahmad, apart from your prejudice, why not contribute yourself and join the effort?

    Joker, it’s a chicken and egg situation and it is up to us to just get on with the job and let the chickens and eggs take care of themselves without us continuing to lose sleep over the blame game.

    MDC, thanks, there is still an awful lot to do but am gratified that the vision is now shared and has become tangible. And the credit actually goes to all Bahrainis who demanded a better life and to be recognised as equals.

  22. Merlin says:

    More planting of courgettes in the sea… and the never-ending re-definition of futility…..

  23. Adel says:

    I don’t like this Merlin, too pessimistic for my taste, reminds me of an old friend.

  24. a reasonable man says:

    Mahmood and others. I applaud you in everyway. Baby steps will help make a better Bahrain. There are so many enthusiastic people on this blog, you can help create the country you dream of.

    You are giving your children and grandchildren the chance for a better life. 🙂

    Bahrain is such a special place to live. Once the infrastructure problems are addressed, the charm of Bahrain and it’s diverse cultures living together, will be a good model for the rest of the world.

  25. migy mao says:

    It is a good excersise. Bahrain has always had a lot going for it, but always failed to exploit or show it. One of the main concerns associated with Bahrain in press and marketing is credibility. I hope that the rebranding shows the real Bahrain and not false far fetched images. As is, Bahrain is great; so kindly try to capture that without streching it tooooo far as experianced previously. We all have to be optamistic and do our part and let us give support to Bahrain.

  26. ammaro.com says:

    I’m sure we all know the potential is there; huge potential actually. But if we don’t take charge, and leave it to the people who have been currently doing things, it’s never going to live up to it. Lets make it happen

  27. ammaro.com says:

    Was already posted about 20 posts up Abbadi, but thanks again.

  28. Adel says:

    The Times article is a joke, I agree with some of it but most of it is rubbish, I think not managing to get a drink made him go berzerk.
    I liked the comments though, and most of them are positive expat comments, way to go Bahrain, we are optimists till we see our dreams materialize.

  29. isa says:

    I saw a cab in central london today advertising Bahrain as a financial centre. I wanted to take a picture with it 😀

  30. Johnster says:

    Where does the brand exist?

    A brand exists in one place and one place alone.

    In the consumer’s mind

  31. Just me says:

    If it’s the same ‘brand’ that the white english PR woman at the EDB was peddling to a displeased bunch of investors abroad, then i’d rather not participate. How much do they pay these ppl to whore the country ?

    Frankly, the money spent on branding and marketing exercises should be spent where it is most needed; entertaining ourselves, our children, our people at affordable prices before we even attempt to do it to the ‘outside’ world. Frankly, the likes of the Time reviewer should go to Dubai for his ‘stiff’ drink and massage if that is all that he is interested in.

  32. ammaro.com says:

    Just Me; Well, i’m trying not to think of it as another means of bringing in investment. First, we need to clear up the garbage thats out there about our country, because, believe it, there is quite a bit.

    Second of all, we need to fix. When I say fix our image, I don’t mean JUST our image. I mean lets fix the problems, and let the image fix itself. We have a little bit of power; lets use it. Like Mahmood said, enough with the whole linear concept of, because something isn’t done on the bigger scale, us little people won’t be able to do anything. Screw it, lets get up there and DO something.

  33. mahmood says:

    That’s the spirit!

  34. Naz says:

    this is exciiting!! im definatly in, tho im not in bahrain.. anything i can do from all the way in melb?

  35. The G-string says:

    Cobblers! The folk at the EDB might just as well be, since I dread to think what level of media output they will accept if the Advertising Agency is to be ‘Tendered’ for.
    Image will involve media of all types and no doubt major international television campaigns. So are we looking at the likes of the Malta promotion or the Kazakhstan standard? What or who is the EDB’s perceived market? Is it an international audience to promote Bahrain or is it aimed at the Middle East only? If the former, then friendly businessmen kissing each other as they greet, or two irrelevant people having some conversation about how great Bahrain is, accompanied by thumping Khaliji traditional music is not going to cut the mustard as few outside the region understand it. Or will we have the Gulf Air/Batelco sickly smiles and apparent workers carrying out their duties, suddenly turning to look at the camera with a hammy grin all over their faces, or even a bit of slow motion thrown in? Yet the very first EDB video promotion (called something else then) was actually pretty good and we still see many a producer nicking bits off it as stock for their own ends.
    Actually, you beat me to the post literally Mahmood and I for one was pleasantly surprised to see a comment regarding this subject so quickly off the mark. A few years back we never had such an outlet to express concerns at some pretty awful stuff that was being proposed or found its way out to the world. (I must have saved some samples).
    If as these posts suggest, everyone gets involved and contributes with pride, then perhaps the first thing we should all do is shout loud about the standards and stop this onslaught of mush emanating from these get rich quick opportunist, so-called advertising media experts.
    Concern number one: Art has no nationality and you cannot ‘tender’ for it. Although a bit Catch 22, the accepted standard is to have someone whose knowledge or perception is respected, inviting Agencies to ‘pitch’. This could be a Bahraini, an Eskimo or any Alien as long as they have the art. You take the most creative, never mind the cost at this stage. You want creative, you pay, not tender for the cheapest dirge which we have seen happening constantly here. Even Dubai put out a lot of mush now, with all this patronizing ‘we do it all for you – our architects care about you’ It is embarrassing. The GDN (today 9/11) carried an ad for ‘Lightspeed’ Internet and in no less than a few short sentences, they show an infestation of the ‘pro-noun virus’ seven times; “WE – US – OUR’. It means nothing and shows very poor creative scripting or advertising standard, yet the clients wet their pants to see it or hear it. The public hate it! Its internal human resources blind motivational crap, seeping into media copy as if the world cares how great this or that company thinks they are and doing it all for us, for life! (How many sign offs or scripts can you pinpoint that has the word ‘life’ in it?) I fully expect similar cobblers now from the EDB, if they ‘tender’ for the creative. Let’s hope we are pleasantly surprised.
    It is a serious issue when, as someone wrote on here, ‘media-ocrity’ reigns supreme in the Middle East, so what will Bahrain be showing the rest of the world? Actually, media-ocrity is all over the world nowadays displaying no creativity, no standards, because the vocation is intangible, nothing physical to trade with, so considered no qualifications needed, easy money and everyone an expert. Bahrain was so much more advanced media-quality-wise back in the 80s, but now we are bombarded with Lebanese ‘dude’ scenarios or the Bombay incredulous family with the little girl spouting insincere lines to a fictitious mummy or daddy and totally irrelevant to the product. Monkey see, monkey do. As a Bahraini Mall Manger said to me at a Dubai Broadcast media seminar where I was a speaker; ‘No we hate it, but it is all we get, we don’t expect anything different’. On commenting with some trepidation to an authority within the then MTC Vodafone group, regarding the abysmal standard of their initial launch marketing; comparing it with Batelco which was almost identical, I was met with; ‘But this is what the people want, it is all they understand’. If the client condescendingly thinks that, then of course any Ad Agency will just take the money and run. If nobody cares or listens, then be it the order of the day. When you criticize this so-called art, you are ostracized or slammed for ‘not understanding the culture’. The well known advertising saying goes; ‘Give the people rubbish, they want more rubbish. Give the people something good, they want better’.(Replace the word ‘rubbish’ with a more apt 4 letter word). Bahrainis, anyone, knows what is rubbish and what is not and loath this patronizing, condescending pap everywhere. The rest of the world knows too, so the EDB’s output better be first class!
    Using the culture or religious angle as an excuse to put out media-ocrity is just a smoke screen for inadequacy at authority level.
    Interesting times! (Really sorry for the long post – say it once and be done with it)

  36. mahmood says:

    I understand your concerns and share some of them. I have written about this subject in 2003:

    A friend of mine, an artist, has written to me decrying the state of visual and auditory art in the Arab world in general and Bahrain in particular, complaining of essentially the bancruptsy of the traditional broadcast institutions as well as so-called “image makers”
    read full article

    unfortunately, not much seems to have changed since then.

    However, as far as tendering is concerned, it is flexible enough to get the user to invite only those he considers qualified to bid if he can offer proper justification. This allows for even single-sourcing but without the loss of oversight. And there is a good published complaints procedure which could be pursued by the public or competitors if they find fault with the selection.

  37. mahmood says:

    You might also be interested in to read a follow-up article and comments I published in May 2005 dealing with similar issues you raised.

  38. Kiwi Nomad says:

    Well said The G-string! Some real food for thought there.

    Of course if you are going to build a brand, then you need more substance than just good PR and advertising. You need to fix all the things that are broken, you need to be able to live up to the brand values…

    The EDB have good intentions, which is the right place to start. Let’s just hope that they don’t get swept up in media-ocrity as the G-string suggests, and we get the same result as the wasted millions of dinars spent on McKinsey’s Labour Market Reforms which are inherently flawed. (And I don’t mean that the views of so-called businessmen are any better… see today’s GGN
    Someone really needs to get these guys off their heavy drug addiction (their addiction to cheap imported labour).

  39. Merlin says:

    This series of post should be titled a “Bahraini’s dream”….. keep dreaming…

  40. mahmood says:

    It isn’t. It a basis and a platform to launch your dreams from!

  41. Adel says:

    Merlin we don’t need people like you in Bahrain we have our fare share of your ilk, please migrate to Dubai maybe you can jinx them, at least you would be doing something useful. :mrgreen:

  42. Adel says:

    Forget what I said about Dubai, I wish Dubai all the best for the future, I don’t want prosperity for Bahrain at the expense of neighbouring countries, I was just joking 😈 .

  43. mdc says:

    Merlin,

    So what’s your solution?

    It sounds like you think things will never change so why should anyone try. If you truly feel that way, that is fine, but others don’t and are willing to try. May not be perfect the first, second or more go arounds, but things have to start some where; and progress will be made faster the more people participate and add their ideas and hopes and dreams. As they say, you are either part of problem or part of the solution or PUT UP OR SHUT UP! :mrgreen:

  44. alcazar says:

    Cream of society? Other-country civil servants…. expat ‘cultural champions’? (But God bless The Poet.)

    A brand is built from…. content. Show me the content. We are a desert, we are desert people. Show me the beaches (public ones), show me the theaters, show me the outstanding art collections, show me the …. never mind.

    Dubai Inc thrives as a brand outside the Gulf because they pumped billion of dollars into it and have delivered on many of the promises to define Dubai as a unique place.

    How long has it taken to get Adhari Park re-opened?

    ‘Emirates’ Ailines is a strong brand internationally, ‘Gulf Air’ is a joke brand.

    Why don’t they start with small things – like fixing the taxi drivers who put the plague on visitors first impressions as they try to leave the airport. (Compare taxis in Dubai.). If their heart was really in it, we would not have these ancient wrecks (and I mean the cars) blighting the airport. Will they?

    I don’t want to knock valiant home-grown efforts, but let’s be realistic. There have been so many conferences and seminars on this subject… where is the follow through?

  45. mahmood says:

    alcazar, I must admit that when I first listened to the lady speak about “our qualities” and “distinctiveness” and she gave examples, I was left wondering if she is actually talking about a parallel reality for the Bahrain she was describing was most certainly not the Bahrain in my mind.

    Then I realised that I had two choices to make, either just trudge on with the continued belief that we are good for nothing and should be flushed down the black-hole of history, or build on what we actually do have! I chose the latter.

    A brand, after all, is a state of mind supported by a future perception of hope and backed up by real change on the ground.

    In a good article about branding my brother Jamal wrote on his blog, he says of the reasons why branding campaign fails:

    sometimes rebranding is done solely to sharpen the image of a company or brand; after all, periodically things need to be freshened up. However, unless you operate in the world of packaged goods, don’t expect great things from launching some new designs and fresh copy.

    Rebranding signals change. A new image will cause people to take a fresh look at you—and people’s primary motivation in taking a new look is to see what’s changed. If you’re the same old place dressed up in new wrapping and ribbons, you’ll merely confirm the existing position you own in their minds. You’ll have wasted a valuable opportunity to change their perceptions.

    I believe he is correct in his assumptions, and you are too. Real change must accompany this campaign for it to be successful, otherwise we might as well forget about it before it is even officially launched.

    My view and why I am personally championing this is that I believe that there is a (hesitant) realisation that things must change, and by me and others championing it I believe that this hesitation will be eradicated and a commitment to change will be adopted by all the stakeholders including the sacrifices to be made on all sides.

    That change of course will increase in some sectors while others will force it to recede because of personal motives or practical reasons, but thinking optimistically about things and making this change in a non-linear fashion will surely allow us to progress faster than just point a finger and continue to say that Dubai is better. Yes, Dubai is better. Now. But I also believe that we have our own style and own stakes and own ownership of the future and our commitment to it that we can far exceed our competitors.

    What is needed to make this happen are two things: political will to change and involving the grassroots in getting them to realise that change is ultimately good for them.

    We have a lot of selling and a lot of building to do.

  46. ammaro.com says:

    ok Mahmood, now stuff like THIS, we need to fight against

  47. mishmish says:

    Dubai is not the be all and end all anymore. Yes, they made bold steps, they created a brand and did not hesitate to invest and promote it worldwide, with astonishing success.

    So far so good. But a brand has to consistently deliver and live up to its image, and Dubai, with all the building work and ensuant chaos going on is presently not quite living up to it. And consumers are noticing.

    Abu Dhabi on the other hand — watch the space. I think they are going about it in a very good way, pro-active, with a plan that seems very well-thought out, and measured development.

    I have said this before, Bahrain does have its merits and I for one do believe Bahrain can be promoted very successfully. Yes, some things will need changing, for sure – but there is still enough there, both to attract investment and visitors.

    to develop a brand, I think you need to go back to the basics first. Peel back the layers and see what is the essence of Bahrain, work outwards from there.

    And as such, I think Bahrain can, with the right kind of support and change, offer the visitor a very genuine experience, interaction with people ( can you do that as a visitor to Dubai? Hardly), history, culture and life beynd the shopping malls. that’s what makes Bahrain interesting to me. It’s not the world’s most beautiful or glamorous place, but it has a quiet charm — the Times writer obviously didn’t bother to discover that.

    In terms of branding for investors, I think with Financial Harbour etc coming into play, Bahrain can play on being a modern country with strong trading tradition.

    Whilst there should be a common thread, messages have to be tailored.

    I think to create the brand, it will take a mix of international experts and Bahrainis — I do believe that international expertise can deliver the know-how of what’s out there and what the perceptions of the target audiences are, but the local view must be taken into consideration. It won’t do for someone who doesn’t cross the expatriate line to try and describe Bahrain’s DNA.

  48. Astro says:

    Hmmm, let us be honest with ourselves people. Neither futile nihlism nor happy go lucky small town belief in our “greatness” will solve what ails this place.

    The reality is that we are small peripheral society, always have been, always will be. A cultural and social cul-de-sac. A charming quaint culture maybe, but hardly one rich enough in cultural artefacts and commodities to translate into a world brand. Perhaps the UAE has it easier because they started with a blank slate: literally.

    Anyway, beyond the normative analysis the reality is that our desire for integration with the rest of the world on a realistic basis is frankly waning (thank you Adel for summarising the rejectionist view of “if they don’t like it they can go home”….and we can wallow in our mire).

    I for one was astounded to read today that a country purporting to reinvent its’ Tourist economy has decided to “ban” room service during daylight over Ramadan. I doubt even the Taliban went that far. From my eyrie in Riyadh, I can order wall-to-wall room service throughout the holy month so what makes us so special?

    Brainfarts like this (great neologism Mahmood) can only come from a society that has fallen out of the race and can only resort to croaking across the pond to its far more graceful – albeit ruthless – neighbours.

    Other countries get branding consultants drawn from Madison Avenue, Paris and London. We get ours from the Channel Islands so all we get is watered down visions of Jersey while they get pumped up visions of Manhattan.

    All hands to the oars people.

  49. Adel says:

    It’s not true a guest can’t order room service in Ramadan, I checked with several hotels and some of them let the guests eat in their coffe shops and resturants during day time in Ramadan

  50. alcazar says:

    Hmmm, let us be honest with ourselves people. Neither futile nihlism nor happy go lucky small town belief in our “greatness” will solve what ails this place.

    The reality is that we are small peripheral society, always have been, always will be. A cultural and social cul-de-sac. A charming quaint culture maybe, but hardly one rich enough in cultural artefacts and commodities to translate into a world brand.

    I agree with the above completely. i also made my comments about Dubai carefully: i didn’t say it was a great place, i said they ahd successfully promoted thier brand OUTSIDE the Gulf.

    I hate Dubai, it’s hell on earth for me, and the reason (and difference with Bahrain) is that it is soulless. here we have a soul, but it’s small, it’s limited and it’s, well, … quaint. That’s it.

    I cannot see anything revolutionizing this place until we have one, single, united vision on our way forward. Where is that? What is it? Who are our visionaries?

    Actions speak louder than words.

  51. mahmood says:

    Indeed they do, and that’s the crux of the whole issue. This whole campaign – if you notice – is to unify the message (not necessarily centralising it) which hopefully will morph into a shared vision. That, regardless of our geographic location or actual size – metaphorically and physically – allows us to punch at least in our weight-class.

    Yes too, this whole transformation should depend on actualities on the ground and really changing ingrained structures rather than just sexy words and images done by whoever is chosen at the end of the day.

    OBG too seems to be pessimistic – or at least appear to not believe that we have the political will – in taking this new program forward, maybe partly because it has been tried time and again or those in power have cried wolf too often, but we have to insist on this change. We really don’t have anything to lose by fully supporting it and everything to gain if it succeeds.

  52. mahmood says:

    Ammar, if you notice, the communique is vague enough to be interpreted however you want. I suggest that they would not dare restrict room service during Ramadhan as they will actually go against Islam in this regards: those who are sick or travelling are allowed to break their fast and all that good stuff.

  53. Adel says:

    Bahrain major investment hub

    MANAMA: Massive infrastructure development has triggered a real estate boom in Bahrain, says a report. “These projects have positioned the country on the world’s real-estate map and transformed it into a favourite investment destination in the world,” the economic report published by the London-based Asharq Al Awsat daily said. “Four huge projects, the Bahrain Financial Harbour, Durrat Al Bahrain, Al Areen and Riffa Views as well other projects were behind the current boom,” the report added. “Thanks to these projects, Bahrain has become an international holiday destination as the number of tourists has increased from 4.6m last year to 4.8 this year and is expected to expand with the opening of Bahrain-Qatar causeway in 2010.” The report pointed out to the investment-friendly laws and no taxes on real estate and the transfer of money abroad have led to this boom.

    Gas talks success

    MANAMA: Negotiations to import gas from Iran have made great progress with the second round of talks scheduled in Tehran next month, Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza said. He said that the Iranian delegation which visited Bahrain last week had held successful negotiations with the Bahraini technical committee on importing gas.

  54. Adel says:

    Here are some bits of information I heard or read over the last couple of days. Are these signs of the boom or bomb to come ?

    1- Zain (MTC) bought a 25 story building in Seef for BD 14Mil to use as a regional headquarters for the group, some 400 employees and family are due to relocate to Bahrain in the next year. An investment bank in Bahrain was also interested in the same building.

    2- Zain top management tried to find a place to hold a 4 day conference in Bahrain after the new identity launch but couldn’t find any available space in Bahrain hotels so they held it in their headquarters in Seef

    3- A Kuwaiti family tried last week to find a place to stay after making the mistake of not booking in advance, but to no avail so it had to go back to Khobar for a place to stay.

    http://www.travel4arab.com/vb/showthread.php?t=144814&page=2

    4- Al Shayea wanted to rent warehouses in Bahrain but couldn’t find any so he rented in the Dammam Industrial Area.

    5- 10,000 visitors to the Dilmun Water Park in Areen on the first week, Tickets are BD12 for Adults and BD8 for children, Towels and lockers are BD2 each and the food average cost is BD2.5 . So it’s not cheap.

    6- A land was sold in Seef for BD180 per foot.

    7- 85% of Durrat Al Bahrain Villas have been sold . villas start from BD 195,000 to over BD 600,000

    8- Tameer Al Khaleej and KFH bought 600,000 sqm in Durrat at the beginning of this year to build a 400 moors Marina and marketed a fund which was fully subscribed, also they bought an additional 100,000 sqm to bring the total area of their project to 700,000 sqm.

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