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Statistics ‘key to tourism growth’
Manama, April 9, 2013
A lack of updated statistics is hindering the development of tourism in the region, a top official said, adding that the sector's contribution to Bahrain's economy currently stands at around seven per cent of gross domestic product.
"Tourism is one of the important economic components for countries in the Arab region," Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) president Dr Mohammed Al Amer was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"It can allow the development of other sectors including transport, traditional crafts and real estate. The importance of preparing and providing detailed statistics to support this sector and its development is important."
Dr Al Amer was speaking at the opening of the first Arab Conference on Tourism Statistics, which was held at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa.
The three-day event, held under the patronage of Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, was organised by the CIO in co-operation with the Arab League.
It took place as part of Manama being named Capital of Arab Tourism for 2013.
Dr Al Amer said the contribution of tourism to Bahrain's economy should be higher.
"This percentage is lower than expected and we hope to work on increasing it," he told the GDN.
"Detailed statistics can aid such a direction as it can help set up a strategy to improve the sector. For example, statistics can reveal the kind of nationalities that love to visit Bahrain and its tourism sites. We can then, based on information on their preferences and visits, build better tourism plans and schemes to suit such things."
His comments were backed by Shaikha Mai.
"Such statistics are needed to further develop tourism and employ seasons to attract different tourists," she said. "It is a component of the economy."
The minister emphasised tourism cannot be developed without culture, as it forms the backbone to promoting a country's sites and heritage.
"We hope discussions from this conference will result in statistics that can provide needed information," she said. "We cannot go forward without updated information to help develop tourism."
Representatives from Arab league secretariats, the Arab Tourism Organisation, Arab Ministries of Tourism and Statistics as well as experts and investors are attending the conference.
Sessions include Arab strategy for tourism, Arab experiences in establishing tourism statistics and latest developments in tourism statistics.
A series of recommendations are expected to be issued tomorrow. – TradeArabia News Service
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