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08 March 2014 Manama Asian Tourism City Promotes International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin
Manama Asian Tourism City Promotes International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin

ITB Berlin 2014 reflects the importance of the world’s tourism industry and is an ideal forum for travel agencies to approach trends and gain information to penetrate new markets.H.E  Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture,  took part in the 48th International Tourism Bourse (ITB)– the world’s largest annual event of its kind which opened in Berlin on March 5.Once again, people who have a lot to say will be gathering at this year’s ITB Berlin Convention, and from 5 to 8 March will be airing though-provoking opinions at the leading think tank of the international travel industry. Leading speakers from the field of research and with practical experience will be lecturing on the latest developments in the tourism industry and related sectors. Admission to the ITB Berlin Convention is free of charge for trade visitors and exhibitors.

H.E Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa  argued that since  it is strategically situated in the heart of trade routes between the West and East, Bahrain  frequently called the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf, has a history of civilizations that date back more than 5,000 years. As a multi-cultural and commercial location where you can find fresh water springs, pearls and dates, Bahrain has attracted people from the four  corners of the world. Indeed, Bahrain is the ancient site of the immortal land of Dilmun, and was the religious centre to Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, as proven by many archaeological excavations. Tylos and Islamic civilisations have also their footprints on Bahrain’s land.

The Ministry of Culture, H.E added has succeeded to  inscribe two new archaeological sites on UNESCO World Heritage List: the first is A'ali Burial Mounds, a project expected to promote Bahrain sites as a major hallmark of human history and cradle of civilization during the Bronze Age. Consequently, this major cultural achievement will provide support in the development of cultural tourism strategies by presenting internationally renowned sites to all visitors. The second classified project is the "Muharraq Pearling Trail", which is considered one of major heritage projects in the Arab Gulf Region to attract visitors and heritage specialists from all over the world.  First priority will be given therefore to the encourage and support these two sites and promote them locally, regionally and internationally shortly after the UNESCO World Heritage Listing declaration

Bahrain offers great potential as both a regional and a world tourist destination, blessed with 33 islands, a cosmopolitan capital city; an attractive, liberal lifestyle; and a rich history and culture. Bahrain offers a wide variety of tourist attractions; from historic monuments such as the Al Khamis Mosque, dating back to 629 A.D, to one of the most modern Formula One racetracks on the Grand Prix circuit. H.E added that watched by millions across the globe, Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014 will present itself once again as the open, welcoming and hospitable country it always was, an opportunity that it will not let go to show the world that the confidence placed in us is justified

Apart from hosting sporting events, Bahrain has been actively promoting itself as cultural venue in the Arabian Gulf. The Cultural Spring Festival has been hosted on a yearly basis since 2006 and the Bahrain Summer Festival since 2008. Both events gather Arab and international artists. The focus is on music, theatre, poetry, art exhibitions and dance as well as academic lectures. The festivals include performances addressed to adult as well as to young audiences and feature also free of charge events. Throughout the years, the Cultural Spring Festival has attracted prominent performers such as Fairuz, Julio Iglesias, Andrea Bocelli, Diana Krall and others. Bahrain has also upheld a long-standing tradition of its Bahrain International Music Festival, which run for the twentieth time in 2011. Due to the growing attention given to arts and cultural industry, Bahraini authorities begun the construction of the first national theater in 2011. The venue will accommodate theatre and opera performances as well as symphonic concerts. The importance of Bahrain’s commitment to culture was stressed when Manama was nominated Arab Capital of Culture 2012. This UNESCO initiative will run in Bahrain throughout the whole year. It will feature events dedicated to arts, architecture, design, poetry, literature, translation, music, environment, theatre and homeland. Each month of the year is dedicated to a different type of activities.

The five-day event attracted tens of thousands of travel agencies and tourism companies from 189 countries worldwide, to exhibit and promote their traditional tourism packages and products. The minister announced that Bahrain by taking  part this year in Berlin International Tourism Bourse, is  lining up a series of activities to promote Bahrain Capital of Asian Tourism  City 2014. among other topics discussed also, were ways and means of fostering efforts to enhance close interaction and concrete cooperation in the context of the bilateral interfaith and intercultural dialogues at the government and civil society level for the furtherance of peace, tolerance, and respect for religious and cultural diversity.

The Minister of Culture gave a presentation on the cultural movement in Bahrain, projecting Manama as the city of Asian tourism and an ideal and unique destination in the region.
H.E Minister of Culture also shed light on Bahrain's old civilisations and cultural landmarks, including Bahrain Fort, the Pearl Route, museums and archaeological sites.
H.E Minister of Culture stressed the importance of organizing different activities and enhancing cooperation between different sectors in order to promote tourism, pointing out to the ability of culture to embrace major popular events worldwide. Indeed, the main objective of culture is to invest and use these events to showcase  the world’s cultures and  civilizations common to all, the  minister argued. The Minister of Culture also stressed, during this meeting,  the need to  boost joint cooperation and contacts in order to consolidate tourism activities and cultural exchange during this year, after  the success of  Capital of Arab  Culture, in 2012 and Capital of Arab Tourism in 2013. The Minister reviewed with her guests the strategies envisaged to promote Bahrain in Asian countries and markets, which would in turn, benefit the national economy and sustainable investments opportunities. 

Showing the various events and activities planned by the Ministry of Culture, tourism tours, Asian handicrafts exhibitions and publicity would contribute to the development of a brighter image of Manama as a friendly, culture-oriented  and magic city to be visited and discovered.

In addition to cultural tourism, Shaikha Mai also pointed out the key role played by sport tourism in projecting the kingdom worldwide as a home of motor sports. “We celebrate in Bahrain the 10th anniversary of launching F1 Grand Prix which has been able to attract a lot of fans," she said.

Bahrain’s pavilion at the prestigious business travel exhibition, ITB Berlin, attracted large crowds of visitors expressing interest in the Kingdom's historical and modern landmarks and attractions.

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map