06 Jan 2020
A MAJOR Agreement was signed yesterday to start construction work on a new international exhibition and convention centre in Sakhir.
The Project next to Bahrain International Circuit is expected to be completed in two years, and is aimed at giving a major boost to the country as top MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) destination.
Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf signed the agreement with Cebarco Bahrain chairman Khalid Abdulrahim, whose company was awarded the BD83.6 million project.
Also present at the signing ceremony were Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Alzayani, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) chief executive Nader Almoayyed and other officials.
“The new state-of-the-art exhibition and convention centre in Sakhir will have 10 halls with a total area of 95,000sqm along with areas dedicated for retail and other facilities.” said a ministry statement yesterday.
It added that the facility will include a 4,500sqm conference hall which will be divided into three separate rooms equipped with latest technology.
"The project includes 27 small and medium conference and meeting rooms covering a total area of about 1,700sqm,” said the ministry.
In addition, two VIP majlises and a parking lot that can accommodate 1,600 vehicles are also part of the master development.
The ministry said to accommodate a large number of visitors, the parking facility of the planned BD165m Sports City in Sakhir would also be used.
The 308,000sqm exhibition and convetion centre has a built up area of 149,000sqm and will be constructed on a 1.3msqm plot of land.
German consultants Tilke Engineers and Architects design and supervised the project. The same company had also designed and supervised Bahrain International Circuit
The GDN reported last week that Bahrain plans to attract 12.2m visitors this year, an increase of five percent, as part of an ambitious tourism plan.
In addition, it plans to increase the total number of nights spent by tourists to 15.8m nights, an equivalent increase of 15pc compared to 2019, as well as increase the average length of stay to 3.5 nights per tourist, an equivalent increase of 3pc compared to 2019.
The BTEA plans to launch the 2020 calendar of events and festivals with a renewed theme, which aims to attract a large number of visitors.
Last month, authorities announced a massive reduction of fees levied on pre-entry visas, starting January 2020, in a bid to streamline foreign visitors' entry to the country.