Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (KSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that seeks to position both countries as a singular regional and global tourism destination.
This landmark agreement not only signifies a milestone in their bilateral relations but also sets the stage for an exponential surge in their respective tourism sectors, said a Bahrain News Agency report.
The MoU was signed by Bahrain Tourism Minister Fatima bint Jaafar Al Sairafi and Saudi Arabia's Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb in the presence of Dr Nasser Qaedi, CEO of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) and Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and representatives from both ministries of the two kingdoms. The official ceremony was held at the Bahrain National Museum in Manama.
This ambitious collaboration aims to strengthen the relations between the two kingdoms and reflects their sincere and determined efforts to enhance cooperation in the field of tourism, the report said.
The memorandum includes multiple provisions that expand the scope of tourism cooperation between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, fostering greater collaboration in various areas of mutual interest.
The MoU establishes a framework for combining efforts to market and promote tourism activities and programmes in both kingdoms. It involves coordinating joint events to attract more tourists, fostering growth in specialised tourism sectors, and collaborating with tourism agencies and regional/international tour operators to create shared tourist destinations.
Furthermore, the MoU aims to enhance collaboration in various areas of the tourism industry, striving to achieve sustainable tourism development in both nations. This involves exchanging information and experiences related to tourism legislation, data and statistics, licensing, operation and management of tourism facilities, and developing human resources in the tourism sector.
The potential collaboration includes promoting visits by experts and representatives from the tourism media in both nations, enhancing tourist destinations, providing support for SMEs tourism projects, and participating in tourism exhibitions and conferences held in both kingdoms. These efforts aim to foster tourism development and establish a shared tourism vision that respects the traditions and social values of both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, it said.
The two parties agreed, through this MoU, to harmonise their stances on tourism matters in regional and international platforms, ensuring that these positions align with their traditions and social values, thereby strengthening the bond between the two brotherly kingdoms.
Al Sairafi said: "Today's achievements are a source of great pride, marking the culmination of extensive work, numerous discussions, and meetings with His Excellency Minister Al Khateeb. These interactions took place during our active participation in various regional and international tourism conferences and exhibitions. We have diligently ensured that the cooperative frameworks, as outlined in the memorandum of understanding, are effectively implemented to achieve our shared goals."
She emphasised that significant progress has been made towards expanding horizons through collaborative work teams consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, BTEA, and the Saudi Ministry of Tourism. A comprehensive timetable will be established for implementation, goal setting, performance measurement, and evaluation based on the practical execution of the tasks.
She revealed that the execution of the MoU sets an exemplary precedent for consolidating efforts among the two nations in order to promote holistic development. The cooperative endeavours in the tourism industry are envisioned to serve as a milestone in unifying energies and accelerating growth, leading to mutual benefits for all parties involved, she added.
Minister Al Sairafi further highlighted the anticipated immense advantages that the tourism sectors in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will derive from the activation of the MoU. She called upon the private tourism sector investors to actively participate in this collaborative tourism initiative, extend support, and reap the rewards it offers.
Al Khateeb underlined the importance of the agreement between the two countries, pointing out that the MoU is the culmination of the long-standing historic relations, in line with the directives of their leaderships.
He emphasised the importance of staying on top of the latest developments in the Gulf region's tourism sector, especially in the two kingdoms, which boast a rich culture, civilization, and heritage, in order to strengthen tourism cooperation.
Minister Al Khateeb said the agreement addressed important issues, including training and developing human resources, investing in technology in the tourism industry, and establishing joint marketing programmes to promote the cultures of the two countries and the region to tourists from around the world.
He affirmed that the agreement will also develop the tourism investment in both countries, as well as improve and enrich the tourists' experience of the region.