BEST OF
bahrain
     Volume   1
Profitable partnerships.
             Every step of the way.
                    Ithmaar Bank - Adding value through innova...
life is colourful ...
        ... because I stand on SOLID GROUND
             Welcome to a spectrum of innovative financia...
Health and Beauty




2
Best of Bahrain
Welcome to Bahrain!
                           If you are reading this you are already part of a truly global way of life ...
Business Friendly Bahrain
Best of Bahrain



                  “Bahrain provides a free, open and transparent environment ...
O      ver the past century,
       Bahrain has led the Gulf
in many different areas, from
                               ...
sectors:                                 over the 2006 to 2008 period.          standards that have helped attract    in 1...
reinsurance for local companies       investment vehicle, Bahrain           Low set up costs, access to          and the p...
About the Bahrain eDB                             both the public and private sectors to             Bahrain’s competitive...
Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating
Officer, Economic Development Board
ChapterS
Best of Bahrain



                          Hotels & Hospitality                     Dining & Entertainment
    ...
Travel, Tourism & Events                           Arts & Culture
       64-77




                                       ...
The Court of HRH
                        The Prime Minister




Your Royal Highness, how              Bahrain is a country...
The Royal Family, rulers of the Kingdom of Bahrain


                                     international exhibitions and   ...
14     Best of Bahrain
His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa,
The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahra...
In the same manner in which            the extent of development
we are developing our                  and success witnes...
in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We      Having said that, it becomes       State Income and thus its        income and create m...
improve its overall investment       and realize a continued flow of      Vision 2030 focuses the future       increasing ...
HRH awarded with “The Special Citation of   has become the preferred             that will be implemented through
        ...
the private sector. Thus, the        We accord substantial attention
private sector should play the       to youth healthc...
of neighbouring countries and       Resources, Environment and
                                               other foreig...
The inaugural Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2010




There are common challenges            brought about tremendou...
Bahrain Overview
                         The pearl of the Gulf, Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island-nation located just
...
More recently, the Kingdom of         kilometre causeway which opened         modernity, symbolising a beacon
            ...
Health and Beauty




                                           Climate                                 National Flag
   ...
Doing Business in the Kingdom
of Bahrain
According to the United Nations
Economic and Social Commission
for Western Asia, ...
Private Transport
                                                Like much of Europe and all of
                         ...
World Heritage Sites
UNESCO has listed one of the
Kingdom of Bahrain’s many
ancient forts, Qalat Al Bahrain, as
a World He...
visitors can view some of the        Clown fish trigger fish, surgeon           Championship at Riffa Views Golf
         ...
the Persian Gulf area as a whole      of fresh water, desertification,
and mixes Arab, Persian and           and pollution...
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1

19,271 views
19,189 views

Published on

A showcase book of Best of Bahrain from www.gvpedia.com

Published in: Travel
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
19,271
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1

  1. 1. BEST OF bahrain Volume 1
  2. 2. Profitable partnerships. Every step of the way. Ithmaar Bank - Adding value through innovation Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. P.O. Box 2820, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Tel: +973 17584000 www.ithmaarbank.com
  3. 3. life is colourful ... ... because I stand on SOLID GROUND Welcome to a spectrum of innovative financial solutions. Solidarity provides the utmost safety and protection against the widest possible risks, along with a diverse range of prudent savings and investment opportunities, ensuring peace of mind and making life ever so colourful. Solidarity’s vision is to become the leading international Islamic-oriented financial services group in the world. With a paid-up capital of $220 million, Solidarity Group has the resources to deliver unmatched risk management solutions, tailored to meet the needs of individuals, families and businesses. Ph one +973 1758 5222, Fax +973 1758 5200 P.O. Box 18668, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain WWW.SOLIDARITY.COM.BH
  4. 4. Health and Beauty 2 Best of Bahrain
  5. 5. Welcome to Bahrain! If you are reading this you are already part of a truly global way of life and are entering our Global Village arena where we showcase our country, our people and our culture and the opportunities that exist in becoming a part of our present and future. Global Village Partnerships and the “Best of” series is a fast growing international media group and “Best of Bahrain” is a first step in introducing the Kingdom on a positive note to our global audience. We feature the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Vision 2030, Business Friendly orientation as the Government focuses on the development of the community and our international business and investment relations. Our genuine hospitality as people in lifestyle and business is unrelenting and synergetic with all of Bahrain’s citizens and residents. Our goal has been to exhibit the diversity with as many key players and initiatives as possible from top organizations to singular entrepreneurs and talented individuals who are contributing to the successful growth of this Kingdom. There are many more still to showcase in future editions of “Best of Bahrain” and on our online social networking portal for Rawia Beyhum - Publisher businesses www.GVPedia.com. We are lucky to have been firstly supported by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, who are our ambassadors to the Kingdom encouraging and inviting the global audience to merge amongst its establishments and set up base here. We proudly recognize the guidance of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister’s Court and all of Bahrain’s ministries, who saw the importance and potential of this publication in providing a neutral voice to the Kingdom. In our discovery of the Kingdom we have witnessed kindness, traditional values and unique talents that contribute to the wholeness of life here. We are proud to present to you this inaugural edition that will be eclipsed in the next editions of a small nation with a world to offer. Please make sure to visit Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) on www.bahrain.com and the Kingdom’s e-Government portal www.bahrian.bh during your stay for further information on the Kingdom of Bahrain. This publication would not have been possible without the support from our participating businesses, entrepreneurs, individual talents and the staff of Middle East Media (MEM) our media partner in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Rawia Beyhum Publisher International Group Publisher Sven Boermeester Bahrain Publishing Partner Middle East Media Marketing L.L.C. Publisher Rawia Beyhum Project Manager Lisa Ashworth Production GVPedia Communications Editors Lisa Durante, Reena Raghavamoorthy Creative Direction Peter Batistich Images List of Photography Contributors see Index on page 188 Information Sources Economic Development Board (EDB), Ministry of Culture & Information, Vision 2030 ISBN # 978-0-620-39819-0 Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in The Best of Bahrain Vol. 1. Neither Best of Bahrain nor GVPedia Communications cc assume any responsibility for errors or omissions. All rights reserved: No part of this publication shall be reproduced, copied, transmitted, adapted or modified in any form or by any means. This publication shall not be stored in whole or in part in any form in any retrieval system. Contact details: Ms. Rawia Beyhum Middle East Media Marketing L.L.C. PO Box 10688 Al Matrook Bldg. 9th Floor, Flat. 101 Tel: +973 17 53 6535 Mobile: +973 39 78 5868 Fax: +973 17 53 3511 www.middleeastmedia.co.uk Email: rawia@membah.com In Partnership with: www.gvpedia.com Sponsored by Global Village Partnerships FZ LLC Best of Bahrain 3
  6. 6. Business Friendly Bahrain Best of Bahrain “Bahrain provides a free, open and transparent environment for businesses and has a globally competitive, value-creation story which focuses on sustainability, skills and good governance.” Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB.
  7. 7. O ver the past century, Bahrain has led the Gulf in many different areas, from decades. The financial services sector has been thriving for nearly 40 years bringing about a certain oil exploitation to finance dependability, sustainability and and education. This has business wisdom. Bahrain also given Bahrainis their uniquely has a tried-and-tested legal sophisticated outlook, which and regulatory environment in supports a core culture of which investors can trust to fairly openness and freedom, and lies protect their interests in an open at the heart of everything they do. and transparent manner. Bahrain is the Gateway to the The quality of growth in a Gulf, with particularly favourable country depends primarily on the access to Saudi Arabia and the quality of its people. Bahrain’s ideal business hub due to its business sector is supported strategic location in the region, by the most productive, highly- excellent transport network, skilled national work force in the and a reputation for cultural GCC. For example, 67% of the neutrality and friendly ties with its financial services workforce is neighbours. Bahraini and education in the Shaikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive, Economic Development Board Bahrain’s free market means country is of a very high standard. that businesses are allowed Tamkeen (formerly the Labour to operate freely, with minimal Fund), has invested around $185 an authenticity about Bahrain of opportunity and optimism.” red-tape and foreign ownership million to train more than 19,000 that is unique to the Gulf. Low Bahrain was the first country in restrictions. According to the Bahrainis and provide them with inflation and sustainable growth the region to diversify away from Index of Economic Freedom sector-specific skills. Education also mean that quality of life is oil and gas 40 years ago. From 2009, Bahrain is the 16th freest reforms have also been amongst the highest in the GCC, the outset, the government set economy in the world and the introduced to improve education especially for families. in motion a series of initiatives to freest in the Middle East. In fact, and skills training in line with encourage industry sectors which Bahrain is the only economy the requirements of the private Investment can offer significant investment in the MENA region to rank sector, adopting best practice potential, based on Bahrain’s amongst the world’s top 20. from some of the world’s most OppOrtunItIes natural and human resources, The Kingdom was also the first successful educational models. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al global market trends and regional country in the GCC to have Furthermore, Bahrain is an Khalifa, Chief Executive of the demands. ratified a Free Trade Agreement open, tolerant and welcoming Bahrain Economic Development Bahrain’s overall economic with the United States of society that has long respected Board (EDB): “Bahrain is the strategy is focused on the America. people of all cultures, ethnicities, most diversified economy in creation of high-quality jobs in Importantly, Bahrain has denominations and genders. With the Gulf and our strength is in sustainable industries and value- a strong track record and its its multicultural society, boutique this diversification. We have a added sectors. The country modern international business restaurants, and a thriving arts wellbalanced economy that is now carries an established credentials extend well into the scene and café culture, there is growing with sectors and islands track record in a number of key Best of Bahrain 5
  8. 8. sectors: over the 2006 to 2008 period. standards that have helped attract in 1984. Formal regulations Financial services Bahrain’s banking sector institutions to the country and governing funds were introduced Widely regarded as the comprises both conventional and led to the rapid growth of Islamic in 1992 which encouraged the bestregulated financial centre in Islamic banking and is the largest finance assets.” development of a thriving fund the Middle East, Bahrain has been segment within the Kingdom’s Bahrain is widely recognised sector and leading to Bahrain’s the region’s undisputed financial finance sector. as the global leader in Islamic dominance as the Gulf’s regional capital for decades. The Central A key feature of the banking finance, with the largest funds centre. As at October Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is the sole system in Bahrain is the rich concentration of Islamic financial 2009, Bahrain was home to more regulator of the entire financial variety of locally incorporated and institutions in the world. At than 2,600 registered funds. services sector. international banks (conventional present, there are 27 Islamic Of these, 137 are Bahrain As of November 2009, and Islamic) that operate in the banks (whose assets under domiciled schemes, and 59 are there are 414 licensed financial Kingdom. Between them, these management total US$25.7 Islamic funds. institutions based in Bahrain, banks provide professional billion), 18 Islamic insurance including local, regional and services and products to retail, companies (Takaful), and 1 Insurance & reinsurance international firms. Banking is wholesale and private wealth re-Takaful firm operating in The insurance industry in the cornerstone of the finance clients. Several locally the Kingdom. A number of Bahrain has been growing industry, and has diversified into all incorporated banks have either conventional banks have also steadily and strongly in recent aspects of finance including funds, branches or subsidiaries in other successfully integrated Islamic years demonstrating double insurances, reinsurances, Islamic countries throughout the Middle products within their operations. digit growth, and mirroring the finance and capital markets. This East, Far East, Africa, Europe and In addition, Bahrain is at the expansion of Bahrain’s financial has created a large pool of local the United States. Overall, the forefront of the market for Islamic sector. The Kingdom offers talent. total consolidated balance sheet securities (sukuk), including the ideal environment for the The financial sector is one of the banking sector reached short-term government sukuk, insurance industry, and with its of the most important and $218.9 billion by October 2009. as well as leasing securities. forwardlooking and business- wellestablished sectors of The CBB has played a friendly regulatory regime it Bahrain’s economy accounting Islamic Finance central role in the introduction hopes to sustain this growth in for 26.59% of Gross Domestic Khalid Hamad, Executive Director- of these products. the longterm. Bahrain is home to Product in 2008 according to the Banking Supervision, CBB: “Whilst more than 170 insurance firms. Central Informatics Organisation. the underlying principles of Islamic Funds Administration & Reinsurance is a smaller market Banking finance have safeguarded it management than the main insurance sector Bahrain’s banking system against the worst of the economic Bahrain has a thriving funds in Bahrain, but it is one that is experienced annual average downturn, it is Bahrain’s tried and industry, with the first Bahrain steadily growing. An increasing growth rates of 18 per cent trusted world-class regulatory domiciled fund being launched number of companies are offering
  9. 9. reinsurance for local companies investment vehicle, Bahrain Low set up costs, access to and the proposed Bahrain-Qatar and using Bahrain as a base from Mumtalakat Holding Company competitively priced, skilled causeway. It is also just 13km which to do business globally. with a capital of BHD2 billion. labour, political and cultural from Bahrain International Airport, Mumtalakat is committed to neutrality and a favourable legal making it perfectly positioned as takaful fostering the development of environment combine to make a multimodal logistics hub for the With the region’s Takaful market the company through greater Bahrain the ideal operating region. set to boom over the next few transparency, better accountability environment. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa years, Bahrain is rapidly being and improved growth of its Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the established as the leader in investments. Information Communication EDB, said: this field. Bahrain is the first technology (ICt) “The Khalifa bin Salman Port market to introduce regulations _____________________________ Bahrain boasts the Middle East’s and Bahrain Logistics Zone now for Takaful companies that met most liberal and advanced ICT represent a world class logistics with Accounting & Auditing On top of a thriving financial infrastructure and policies. The hub right at the heart of the Gulf, Organisation for Islamic Financial services sector, the Kingdom Bahrain ICT market is expected to providing the ideal location from Institutions (AAOIFI) standards. also has strong professional reach $375 billion by 2010, due to which to tap into the almost Predictions at the Takaful services, logistics and the high demand for IT products one trillion US dollars combined conference held in April 2008 manufacturing sectors. and services from both public market of the GCC countries suggested that the industry was International businesses and private sectors. The growing and its rapidly expanding, young set to increase to US$10 billion already in Bahrain include need for robust IT solutions is population.” by 2015. Microsoft, Kraft, BNP Paribas, also being driven by massive Ernst & Young, KPMG, DHL and eGovernment and eCommerce Automotive Industry sovereign Wealth Funds – Standard Chartered Bank. initiatives, aimed at achieving Bahrain has consistently stood mumtalakat economic diversification. Bahrain at the forefront of a thriving Kamal Ahmed, Chief Business & professional offers low entrance costs and its automotive sector in the Middle Operating Officer of the EDB: services market is rich with opportunity. East, having joined an elite club of “The independent ranking With the largest financial services 18 nations by hosting the Formula of Mumtalakat as the most centre in the Gulf and close Logistics One World Championship six transparent Sovereign Wealth proximity to Saudi Arabia’s oil Bahrain is currently investing times in a row. The automotive Fund in the Gulf is further proof and gas markets, opportunities US$2.9bn to upgrade its logistics industry in Bahrain grew by of the Kingdom’s commitment for professional and business infrastructure. The Bahrain 6.8% in 2007 and a further 10% to the highest standards of services are abundant in Bahrain. Logistics Zone is fully integrated in 2008 and the Kingdom now accountability and robust These include law, accountancy, with the new Khalifa bin Salman has substantial expertise in the regulation that has created a management consultancy, port, and is in close proximity to sector, especially in motor sport stable business environment.” marketing services, engineering both the King Fahd causeway and aluminium component In 2006, Bahrain set up its own services and human resources. linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia manufacturing.
  10. 10. About the Bahrain eDB both the public and private sectors to Bahrain’s competitive advantages and work closely together to achieve Bahrain’s provide significant investment opportunities. Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer strategic objectives for change and growth. The Bahrain EDB works to enhance the of the EDB: “The Bahrain EDB strives Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa is capabilities, infrastructure and policies that to be the catalyst for change that will the Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic are tied to the economic sectors and to transform Bahrain into a preferred Development Board. the overall business environment. In doing global business destination.” so, the EDB aims to attract foreign direct eDB Initiatives investment in these areas and contribute to The Bahrain Economic Development The Bahrain EDB has played a prominent the Kingdom’s economic growth. Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency role in a number of important initiatives. The Bahrain EDB is responsible for responsible for formulating and overseeing These include Bahrain’s hosting of the promoting the Kingdom of Bahrain abroad the economic development strategy of Middle East’s first ever Formula 1TM Grand through its overseas network of dedicated Bahrain, and for creating the right climate to Prix; becoming the first country in the Arab offices, in India, Japan and Hong Kong, attract direct investment into the Kingdom. world to fully liberalise its telecoms industry; and by working closely with its embassies The role of the Bahrain EDB is to provide and establishing a Free Trade Agreement around the world to promote business leadership by uniting all of the Kingdom’s with the United States. investment opportunities. shareholders through a unified vision, and The Bahrain EDB currently seeks In addition, the Bahrain EDB offers an to develop key strategies for growth. The to attract inward investment across investor-facilitation service to first-time Bahrain EDB also acts as a facilitator, helping several economic sectors in line with the investors interested in doing business in all of Bahrain’s stakeholders to understand government’s aspirations to promote Bahrain. A dedicated business development and adopt the changes necessary for productive and sustainable growth, as set officer serves as the first point of contact progress. In addition, the Bahrain EDB out in Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, to the Kingdom, working to understand provides sound project management to launched in October 2008. The National the objectives of each investor, providing ensure that all agreed reform initiatives are Economic Strategy provides a roadmap information regarding the relevant implemented effectively. for the vision, which sets the direction procedures for setting up businesses, and The EDB is chaired by His Royal for Bahrain’s future development, aiming helping them to develop a strong network of Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al to build a better life for every Bahraini by contacts to successfully conduct business Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain. The utilising the private sector as an engine in Bahrain. EDB Board of Directors consists of 17 for growth and focusing on modernizing government ministers and 10 leading the economy, developing new skills and executives from the private sector. The enhancing productivity and innovation. Tel: +973 17 589 969 Board’s composition is designed to enable Several economic sectors capitalise on www.bahrainedb.com
  11. 11. Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer, Economic Development Board
  12. 12. ChapterS Best of Bahrain Hotels & Hospitality Dining & Entertainment 42-53 54-63 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Health, Beauty & Wellness Training, Education & CSR 108-115 116-129 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Media, Communications & Technology 164-169 170-187 Chapter 10 Chapter 9 10 Best of Bahrain
  13. 13. Travel, Tourism & Events Arts & Culture 64-77 78-107 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Real Estate, Construction & Design Banking, Investment & Finance 130-149 150-163 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 BEST OF bahrain Best of Bahrain 11
  14. 14. The Court of HRH The Prime Minister Your Royal Highness, how Bahrain is a country of limited These mechanisms were set and economic growth. has your Government space and resources. In such in place since the early stages Simultaneously, any social or supported the development a situation it is only natural to of the state formation, which in economic development is subject and diversification of Bahrain’s define your ambitions within turn contributed to witnessing to this stability. economy in light of the current these limitations. Faced with such a limited negative magnitude of difficulties and successive challenges Bahrain conducted the recent global crisis, keeping Therefore, as we look today global and regional crises? in-depth studies with a futuristic Bahrain as immune as possible at the achievements realized Global difficulties are a testament approach that recognizes the under such circumstances. by the people of Bahrain as a of Bahrain’s ability to overcome indispensability of developing consequence of the Kingdom’s the reality and employ it for mechanisms for income We believe that any progress diversification policy, we the realization of its interests. diversification. is only secured via stability become more confident and 12 Best of Bahrain
  15. 15. The Royal Family, rulers of the Kingdom of Bahrain international exhibitions and accordance with specialized the current intense competition to conferences, as well as home to studies and research. We realize attract direct foreign investment many important industries such the international geographic and mega-projects. We believe as oil and gas related industries, importance of the region we live that it is the responsibility of the petrochemicals, aluminum, in, as a meeting point between State to provide the facilities and shipbuilding and repair. We East and West, particularly the incentives necessary to attract continue to attract foreign vital and strategic location of and sustain local and foreign investments, and you only need the Kingdom of Bahrain within investments alike. to take a look at the development it. Therefore, we remain keen and investment projects in the to benefit from our location Today we enjoy a sophisticated Kingdom to realize the success in further attracting foreign communication network; we of our policies whether those investment and encouraging have no monopoly in this field. concerned with sustainable new ideas and initiatives that will The industry is characterized by development or improving the further strengthen our economies a competitive environment that quality of life in general. and support our endeavors to recognizes the needs of both the increase our development and service provider and its users Your Royal Highness, how our growth rates. with ample opportunities for do you envision the path for specialized companies to enter. proud of Bahrainis ability to economic growth in the future? We are also aware that this can change their reality and open up What are the possibilities of be achieved only by providing We currently have in place three new prospects for the coming diversifying sources of income a modern infrastructure in the Telecom service providers. We generations. so as not to depend solely on areas of Communication and are confident that the presence of oil revenues, banking and the Technology, particularly in these three companies will enrich Today, Bahrain is a highly visible real estate sectors? Information Technology and the telecommunications sector, financial and banking centre In order to minimize any risks Telecommunications. We remain contribute to the industry’s with a leading international that may impede our economic committed to insuring that our development and provide high status particularly in Islamic and social development, we infrastructures are in accordance quality services for all investment Banking. Furthermore, Bahrain is constantly review our legislative with international standards and projects in the Kingdom of a significant centre for services, and economic policies in expectations, especially in light of Bahrain. Best of Bahrain 13
  16. 16. 14 Best of Bahrain His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain
  17. 17. In the same manner in which the extent of development we are developing our and success witnessed in the communications, air traffic, sea Kingdom of Bahrain. Yet, we and land infrastructures, we believe that one of the most are developing and expanding important indicators in evaluating the Bahrain International our economic reality is the Airport in order to enable it to reflection of these achievements accommodate larger numbers on the Kingdom’s citizens and of aircrafts and passengers, their well-being. transferring it into a focal airport As a case in point, in attracting in the region. Furthermore, we foreign direct investment Bahrain are developing our ports as well is ranked first between all to keep pace with the continued Gulf States, and twelfth in this increase in trade, especially in category on the global level. transit trade, where the Kingdom Furthermore, according to the of Bahrain is a main conduit outward FDI Performance Index, between East and West. These Bahrain ranks as the second developments are imperative country in the Arabian Gulf States for growth. The King Fahad and ninth internationally. These Causeway is also going though rankings confirm, without a constant development particularly doubt, that we are set on the right as a land outlet, helping to path and that we have a solid increase mobility of trade, goods foundation on which to build our and people between Bahrain, future successes. Image by: Hanan Hassan Al Khalifa Gulf States and other Countries. What are the most The Kingdom of Bahrain has been fundamental economic internationally recognized as a indicators upon which your leader in the field of Information Royal Highness depends on in Technology, ranking 45th from your work as Prime Minister a list of ‘Country Readiness and Why? in the field of ICT.’ In addition We always act in accordance the United Nations Report on with our vision and goals, E-Government for 2010 ranked particularly the goals designed Bahrain E-Government as first in to meet the needs of Bahraini the Middle East, third in Asia and citizens, to provide better 13th Globally. services as inspirited by them, and to raise to their aspirations We continue to develop new for the future. In this context, the ideas, initiatives and proposals Government of Bahrain is based that add value to our economy on several main economic pillars and National Income, thus that include, but are not limited enhancing and advancing the to, the development of living historic role of the Kingdom of standards, the development Bahrain in developing world of services and facilities, the Trade. ongoing development of projects that bring about added value Do you believe that the global to the national economy, and economic indicators obtained attracting investments that on Bahrain’s economy from contribute to the establishment specialized international of new projects, which in turn institutions are sufficient provide more job opportunities evidence for the success of for Bahraini citizens. involvement, yet this can only be momentum. Therefore, we your economic policies and are achieved if they enjoy descent accord paramount attention to significant indicators of future Our ambitions recognize no and secure lives. sustainable development, as viability? limits when it comes to the we view it as the right approach Indicators are an important part Kingdom and the well-being of What is the opinion of Your for future growth and the only of a number of mechanisms citizens. We strive to realize the Royal Highness with regards guarantor to the continuity of our designed to measure the best results possible, from high to the challenges facing achievements. success of our policies, standards of living to providing sustainable development in the especially since they come from the best services possible, Kingdom of Bahrain? We have always believed that international institutions that specifically in social well-fair, Development is an ongoing investing in human capital are impartial and specialized. health, education and housing. process and the mechanisms should be at the heart of any These institutions highlight to We want citizens to realize set for its realization should developmental approach the world, in accordance with their full potential and to have be constantly reinforced and that investment, in itself, their predetermined standards, high levels of productivity and to maintain a progressive should remain a state priority Best of Bahrain 15
  18. 18. in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We Having said that, it becomes State Income and thus its income and create more job are confident in the abilities only natural to refer to some of capital allocation for project opportunities for Bahrainis? of Bahraini citizens, whom the challenges the state faces development. Yet, we remain Investment is not an end in we consider to be the real such as resource limitations capable of facing these itself. We strive to improve and sustainable wealth of the and varying global economic challenges, overcoming them the selection process so that nation in achieving further circumstances. For example, and indeed moving forward with investments play a significant developments in all fields. global financial downturns may our sustainable development role in the economy, meet the affect investment levels and policies. economic needs of the country, Human development and project building rates, while help transfer technological and economic development remain increases in global prices for How do you link investment technical skills and support highly correlated, yet we are basic commodities and goods, in different sectors with the our endeavors to train our firm believers in the necessity in light of the subsidies we Kingdom of Bahrain strategy manpower in order to increase to both maintain a balance guarantee our citizens, in turn for Vision 2030? What are their knowledge and skills. With between the two and realize increase the financial burden other areas of investment this vision in mind, Bahrain the specific needs of each field of the state. All these matters, you are looking to go into has devised many investment individually. directly and indirectly, affect to diversify sources of incentives and has worked to 16 Best of Bahrain
  19. 19. improve its overall investment and realize a continued flow of Vision 2030 focuses the future increasing investments including climate and freedom, leading investments. This is a testament strategy for the development Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). to an internationally recognized of the general confidence in the of our national economy with Achieving this will, without a distinctive progress in the field. Bahraini economy and in the international competitiveness in doubt, lead to an increase in security, appropriateness and mind. In this context, the private our competitiveness and further Bahrain enjoys a solid economy positive economic climate we sector is to become the catalyst strengthen the capacity of with good growth rates, which enjoy. Furthermore, it reflects for growth creating, among other Bahrain’s economy to make good in turn provided us with an the positive response to the things, ample opportunities for use of state of the art technology advantage during the recent new investment opportunities citizens to work in the private and world-class management global economic downturn, and patterns we are constantly sector also helping in turn limit techniques. We are sparing no allowing us to be more positive introducing and developing, the high interest in governmental effort to attract investment to while realistic and balanced in capitalizing on what makes and public sector employment. other sectors in addition to the our outlook throughout the crisis. Bahrain’s comparative advantage existing sectors of banking, The Kingdom of Bahrain was in particular its investment Furthermore, our national industry and real estate. At able to avoid to a large extent incentives and its legislative and strategy gives great importance present, we have the promising the negative impacts of the crisis judiciary infrastructure. to further encouraging and sector of tourism, where Bahrain Best of Bahrain 17
  20. 20. HRH awarded with “The Special Citation of has become the preferred that will be implemented through the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour” from the location for distinct investments the collaboration between the UN Secretary General, Geneva 2007 in tourism, these rose to more Government and Bahrain’s than $12 billion in the current Economic Development Board, decade, compared with only headed by His Royal Highness $500 million in the nineties. Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy As a tourist hub the Kingdom Supreme Commander. of Bahrain attracts more than There will also be a 3.7 million visitors a year. The continuous monitoring of contribution of the tourism sector the implementation process to Bahrain’s national income is including the detailed plans therefore approximately 9 percent contained therein. We all, as with average annual revenue of institutions in the Kingdom of one billion U.S. dollars. These Bahrain, collaborate in great achievements have been made harmony so as to realize our possible by the successful main objectives which in turn tourism sector development serves the country’s interests. polices the Government has Our aim is to integrate and put into place and firmly standardize without any overlap implemented. or conflict. Our vision is clear and our way forward is to review What strategy does your what has been achieved in the government employ in order to past, build on these successes ensure that Vision 2030 serves with a clear focus on the future. the truest interests of Bahrainis as a whole? We believe that in any economic We have specific mechanisms reform, the public sector emanating from Vision 2030 itself cannot replace the role of 18 Best of Bahrain
  21. 21. the private sector. Thus, the We accord substantial attention private sector should play the to youth healthcare in order central role in managing the to insure that our young development process and must generations grow strong, further expand its particular role disease free, highly productive on the domestic and regional and distinctively creative and fronts alike. innovative. Furthermore, we provide youth sports and Your Royal Highness, what social centers, giving them the are the scenarios for the opportunity to channel their future as you see them for the energy and prepare themselves youth of Bahrain? for the future whereby they The youth are half of the are better able to contribute to present and all of the future. their country’s progress and We are preparing them to take prosperity. responsibility with integrity. To meet this end, we continue We have centers for fostering to develop our educational talent and integrating people system and link our educational with special needs into the curriculums with labour market educational process, as part needs. We have managed to of a boarder plan to integrate decrease unemployment rates and incorporate their abilities to their lowest level thus far, in society. We are also proud 4 percent. We concentrate of the prevalence of several on training, which in turn, will public and private universities enable young people to engage in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the labor market and meet that seek to provide the best the needs of the Kingdom in levels of education not only HRH awarded with “UNESCO Avicenna Gold Medal “ various disciplines. for our youth but for the youth from UNESCO Director General, Paris October 2009 Best of Bahrain 19
  22. 22. of neighbouring countries and Resources, Environment and other foreign resident children Wildlife Monitoring in Bahrain, from around the world. confirms that emissions in the Kingdom are in line with In light of the global challenges international standards. of climate change, what are the Furthermore, we are among steps taken by the Kingdom of the countries that take the Bahrain to protect the natural protection and the reservation heritage and to ensure the of the environment seriously. In use of low-carbon energy in this regard, we have decisive and the various institutions and outstanding legislations. enterprises? In the Kingdom of Bahrain we How do you see the have a formal body to protect participation of your country in the environment, which monitors growth at the global level and the emission rates of factories what role do you think that your and takes the necessary action government has in this area? to reduce these emissions We are part and parcel of this where found. Furthermore, we world and we are proud of our contribute actively in various effective role, in collaboration regional and international forums with friends in all countries, to find solutions to climate to reach a more secure and change challenges and to ensure stable world; where relations are that the Kingdom of Bahrain is characterized by mutual respect, aligned with any procedures that free from conflict and tension, have been agreed upon globally. which have caused serious HRH awarded with the “King Abdulaziz Medal”, The findings and indicators, as a damage to the development an honour given to world leaders from King result of the Public Commission plans in many parts of the Abdullah, Riyadh April 2009 for the Protection of Marine contemporary world. 20 Best of Bahrain
  23. 23. The inaugural Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2010 There are common challenges brought about tremendous facing all countries worldwide, global convergence, further where agreements are necessary blurred barriers between nations to achieve crucial goals such and made distances more as; sustainable development, manageable. We truly all live now economic diversification, job in one global village, with only creation, quality education and geographical spaces to separate health for all. us. Bahrain’s economy, especially as Let us reiterate the call to the being one of limited resources, is entire world, to fully cooperate highly interlinked with those of its to improve the circumstances in neighbours as well as with world the least developed and poorest oil markets. We are working to countries, to renounce violence expand our options, particularly and eschew conflicts and wars in banking and tourism. Yet, that can never bring peace and despite our limited resources our tranquility to the world. economic growth remains high, diversified and thus enhancing Unless all of us respect human our status on a world wide scale. rights, work to improve the lives of people everywhere, free from We are confident that no State the prejudices of racism and alone can make a unique ethnocentrism, the elimination achievement in the world. of tension and widespread On the contrary, international poverty will not be achieved. We cooperation is, without a are all part of this world and so doubt, the driving hallmark progress and development is the of today’s world. Indeed, the responsibility of us all without communication revolution, which exception. Best of Bahrain 21
  24. 24. Bahrain Overview The pearl of the Gulf, Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island-nation located just off the Arabian Peninsula. With its name meaning ‘the two seas’, this land was once considered by the ancient Sumerians to be an island paradise for the wise and the brave who were transported there to enjoy eternal life. The Al-Fateh Mosque located next to the King Faisal Highway in Juffair, Kingdom of Bahrain 22 Best of Bahrain
  25. 25. More recently, the Kingdom of kilometre causeway which opened modernity, symbolising a beacon Bahrain has achieved fame as in November 1986, creating easy of progress in the Arab world. one of the first Gulf States to access for many businessmen discover oil. Since the Al Khalifa who live in the Kingdom of Head of State : family began ruling the country Bahrain and work in Dhahran in H. M. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in 1783, the country has been the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s moving towards creating a local Eastern Province. The island was Official Name: Kingdom of Bahrain identity that marries tradition and once known as Dilmun and was modernity, symbolising a beacon of home to an ancient civilisation Capital City : Manama progress and humility in the Arab that played a central trading role World. between the peoples of the Indus Area : 665 sq km Valley (now India) to the south Best of Bahrain and Mesopotamia (now Iraq) to Population Approx : 720,000 The Kingdom of Bahrain is an the north. Dilmun’s capital was archipelago comprising 33 islands a major port whose remains are Time Zone : UTC+3 located in the Persian Gulf ruled visible today at the UNESCO World by the Al Khalifa dynasty since Heritage Site of Bahrain Fort (Qal’at Official Languages : Arabic & 1783. Bahrain became a British al Bahrain). English protectorate in the 19th Century The Kingdom also features in and gained independence in one of the world’s oldest and most Official Religion : Islam 1971.The current ruler, His Royal enduring pieces of literature – the Highness King Hamad bin Isa Al Epic of Gilgamesh, where the Currency : Bahraini Dinar (BHD) Khalifa, assumed the throne in island was home to the source of 1999 and instituted a process eternal youth. The tale is believed Country Dialling Code : +973 of democratic reform. Through to refer to the pearls from the the change to a constitutional shallow Gulf waters, which were People Age Ratio : 0-14 years: monarchy in 2002 his title went one of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s 26.4%, 15-64 years: 69.8%, 65 from Emir to King. Since that biggest exports for generations. years and over: 3.8% time, the Kingdom of Bahrain has In more recent years, the moved from strength to strength Kingdom of Bahrain has been Gender Ratio : 1.25 male/female through its financial sector and a regional pioneer, particularly infrastructure development. The as a specialist business and Ethnic Groups : Bahraini 62.4%, Kingdom of Bahrain is a member financial centre. The Kingdom non-Bahraini 37.6% of the United Nations, the Arab has a whole series of Gulf ‘firsts’ League, the Gulf Co-operation under its belt - from discovering Religious Affiliations : Muslim Council and the Organization of the oil, to diversifying the economy, (Shia and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian Islamic Conference. providing education for both 9%, other 9.8% males and females from the Background on Bahrain 1920s onwards and becoming Accommodation Bahrain is an Arabic word meaning the first democracy with universal The Kingdom of Bahrain “Two Seas”, referring to two facts. suffrage in the region. Indeed, provides various options First, the islands are surrounded in the Kingdom of Bahrain, for visitors, from furnished by two kinds of water; freshwater women are entitled to run for apartments to an impressive Image by Abdulla M. Al-Khan of Bahrain House of Photography springs may be found within the parliamentary office. The Royal range of local and international salty water of the Arabian Gulf. Family has integrated both hotels. The country hosts such Secondly, the Kingdom of politically and socially throughout well-known hotel names such Bahrain lies between the southern the world, befriending many as Ritz–Carlton, Banyan Tree, and northern waters of the Gulf high-profile figures. One such Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu, which separate it from the Arabian friendship was with the late ‘King Sheraton and will be extending coast and Iran. The Kingdom of Pop’ Michael Jackson: on its hospitality with the opening of Bahrain is located midway his untimely death in 2009 H.M. of a greater range of five-star between the Qatar peninsula and King Hamad commented that properties by 2012, including Saudi Arabia. Bahrain Island is 48 “the world has lost a giant in the the Four Seasons, Raffles and kilometres long and 16 kilometres music industry.” In many ways, Kempinski. Also a current trend wide. The Kingdom of Bahrain is Bahrain has created a distinctive is the advent of boutique hotels connected to Saudi Arabia by a 23 identity that marries tradition and such as L’Hotel. Best of Bahrain 23
  26. 26. Health and Beauty Climate National Flag Located just off the Arabian The flag of the Kingdom of Peninsula, the Kingdom of Bahrain Bahrain is made up of a white is generally considered a hot, arid band on the left, separated country. While it does see very from a red area on the right by hot and humid summers (July a zigzagging line. The five white to September), the Kingdom of points of the line represent the Bahrain also experiences mild and five pillars of Islam. pleasant winters (December to March), making it a much-desired FACTS ON THE KINGDOM vacation destination for those living OF BAHRAIN in regions where the winter can be much harsher. GENERAL INFORMATION BUSINESS AND ECONOMY Average Temperature in ˚C Winter lows: 10 ˚C Banks and Foreign Exchange Summer highs 36 ˚C The Kingdom of Bahrain is host to world-class financial Embassies institutions, including the highly Most countries are represented in regarded Ahli United Bank, the Kingdom of Bahrain by their which has won ‘Best Foreign respective embassies. Exchange Bank in the Middle East’ for three consecutive Medical Facilities years. The National Bank The Kingdom of Bahrain offers of Bahrain also provides modern medical care and comprehensive banking medicines through various services. Other financial hospitals in the country. Two institutions in the country fall government hospitals and several under the following labels: private hospitals provide a wide investment banks, commercial range of medical services. banks, specialized banks, Many expatriates prefer to offshore banking units, and attend private hospitals such as money and foreign exchange the American Mission Hospital in brokers. Islamic Banking is Manama (www.amh.org.bh). For abundant. more information please view the Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Credit Cards and Cash Health website (www.moh.gov.bh). All major credit cards can be used in the Kingdom of Bahrain. National Anthem Cash is preferred in the local “Bahrainona” (“Our Bahrain”) currency which is Bahraini Dinar. 24 Best of Bahrain
  27. 27. Doing Business in the Kingdom of Bahrain According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Kingdom of Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. This makes it an ideal country for all types of business ventures. In the face of the global economic crisis, the country is diversifying its economy to ensure its continued success both locally and internationally. Additionally, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s focus on Islamic banking, which is becoming increasingly popular, ensures that it will be one step ahead of the world in the business realm. With many international firms making their home in the country, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a tried-and-true option for business and investment. has made steady progress in the local and international mobility. Kingdom of Bahrain. Today the The country’s small size allows for Natural Resources country hosts five dailies, including easy access to almost all parts Oil is the Kingdom of Bahrain’s two in the English language. of the nation. The government- major source of revenue, with Regional and international sponsored road network provides petroleum production and newspapers and magazines also the major link between residential processing accounting for about circulate in the country. and commercial areas, as well 60% of export receipts, 60% of as connects to airports, seaports government revenues, and 30% COMMUNICATIONS AND and industrial zones. In terms of of GDP. TRANSPORT international access, the Kingdom of Bahrain has no shortage of THE MEDIA Telecommunications options: various seaports; bridges The Kingdom of Bahrain (linking the island nation with Radio has a well-developed Saudi Arabia and Qatar); and Most radio stations in the Kingdom telecommunications system that the Bahrain International Airport, of Bahrain are state-run, with has recently been privatized with complete with its own carriers like the Bahrain Radio and Television several competitive providers Bahrain Air and Gulf Air, provide Corporation (BRTC) broadcasting including Batelco, Viva, Zain, instant gateways to the world a general programme in Arabic, Menatelecom and Nuetel. The outside the country’s borders. a second programme featuring landline phone system connects Buses run regularly with links cultural and local programmes, most parts of the country, while between most towns to Manama a Holy Quran programme and mobile coverage stretches across and Muharraq, running from a sports service, as well as the the island. The Kingdom of Bahrain 5.30am until 9.30pm. Timetable English language is well-connected; it is fairly easy information is provided at the bus Radio Bahrain. The country also to get online at internet cafes and terminals. has a privately owned programme visitors should not have problems The Government has aimed to for Indian listeners. obtaining internet access from privatise the public transportation any of the four and five star hotel for the private sector to develop Television properties. The Bahraini domain the service and raise its efficiency The Kingdom of Bahrain is eager to suffix is .bh. and effectiveness to fully serve promote itself as the media hub of The Telecommunications the residents. It is expected that the Middle East. Locally, the state- Regulatory Authority (TRA) was the development of the public run Bahrain Radio and Television recently established for protecting transportation will encourage more Corporation (BRTC) operates five the interests of subscribers and residents from all social sectors to terrestrial TV networks. users, and promoting effective and use the buses, even if they own For more information see the fair competition among established cars, to participate in the reduction Ministry of Culture and Information: and new licensed operators. www. of the number of cars in the roads www.moci.gov.bh/en/ tra.org.bh/en/ and minimise traffic jams, and also reduce air pollution, also knowing Print Public Transport that the Public Transportation Since the opening of the first As a small island nation, the service provided general benefits Arabic newspaper daily, Akhbar Kingdom of Bahrain’s transport from economic, social and al Khaleej, in 1967, print media infrastructure emphasises both environmental aspects. Best of Bahrain 25
  28. 28. Private Transport Like much of Europe and all of North America, driving in the Kingdom of Bahrain is on the right side of the road. Road rules are strictly enforced. These include the mandatory wearing of seatbelts, speed limits and a zero tolerance for drink driving. Violators may be fined on the spot. Rental cars are readily available but visitors cannot hire a car using a foreign driver’s license (other than from GCC countries). According to Bahraini law, only an International Driving Licenses is acceptable and must be obtained before entry into the Kingdom. Postal Services The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Postal Directorate has established post offices in many parts of the island nation, so that contact with the world is never far away. In addition, the country makes various internationally-recognised services available to its residents to ensure the highest levels of quality and efficiency in communicating with the outside world. Tourism With over eight million visitors a year, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a popular tourist destination. Steeped in Arab history while openly embracing the modern world, Bahrain offers what Lonely Planet describes as “an excellent introduction to the Persian Gulf”. The country combines traditional Arabic culture, contemporary Gulf glamour and the archaeological legacy of five thousand years of civilization. It also hosts settlements, temples and burial mounds from the ancient civilization of Dilmun, which dominated trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization. The government is actively supporting the tourism industry by contributing to large-scale development projects. Various resorts are planned in the Kingdom of Bahrain, including the Al Areen Resort, Dannat Hawar, Durrat Al Bahrain, Amwaj Islands, Lulu Island, Riffa Views and Bahrain Bay, soon to be home to the Kingdom’s first Four Seasons Hotel. Other prominent initiatives to increase tourism are the cultural events organized by the Image by Latifa Al Shakar, alshakar@gmail.com Ministry of Culture & Information as well as the expansion plans of the Kingdom’s national airport. 26 Best of Bahrain
  29. 29. World Heritage Sites UNESCO has listed one of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s many ancient forts, Qalat Al Bahrain, as a World Heritage Site. Initiated in 2006 under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, the Investing in Culture project is aimed at enhancing an active partnership between the private and public sectors to financially and morally support new cultural projects aimed at human development with preservation of national identity. (www.investinginculture.bh). One heritage site notable to the Kingdom of Bahrain is the Tree of Life near Jebel Dukhan. Tipping This is prevalent but not as standardized as in North America. Many hotels and restaurants include Future of Retail Growth SPORT a service charge for dinners of 10 There is growth of convenience The most famous sports event -15 percent though it is customary to foods in the market due to in the country is the Bahrain leave a small extra tip to the waiting demand for a Western diet. Grand Prix, an annual Formula staff at the discretion of the patron. US-based Kraft has invested One racing event that takes Taxi drivers and other service workers in a 60,000 square metre food place at the Bahrain International will expect small tips of around 10 per processing plant, it’s first in Circuit (BIC). In 2004, Bahrain cent. the GCC region. With demand organised the Bahrain Grand Prix, for foreign food and fashion the first FIA Formula One World Luxury In The City increasing, there is immense Championship event held in the Located on the ground floor of potential for growth in Bahrain. Middle East that was later awarded the iconic Bahrain World Trade the “Best Organized Grand Prix” Centre (BWTC), Moda Mall has SHOPPING DISTRICTS award by the IFA. In 2006, the attained the status of an ultra- • Seef District Bahrain Grand Prix which is usually exclusive shopping complex, • Al Ali Mall the third race of the Formula thanks to its tenants. Offering • Seef Mall calendar swapped places with the about 16,500 square metres of • Bahrain Mall traditional opener, the Australian retail space, Moda Mall houses • Marina Mall Grand Prix and opened the some 160 high-end brands • Dana Mall Formula One calendar. In 2007, including Louis Vuitton, Emporio • Capital Mall - Bahrain Cultural the BIC became the first circuit to Armani, Versace, Just Cavalli, Handicrafts) receive the FIA Institute Centre of Hermes and Stella McCartney, Excellence trophy. The Kingdom of under it’s roof. Muharraq Bahrain staged the opening race of Al Kurar House the 2010 season as well. Hypermarkets in Bahrain To date, the lap record is held Even though, Bahrain has caught Manama by Michael Schumacher who in on to the hypermarket model The City Center Mall is possibly the 2004 did a lap record of: relatively late in the GCC region, biggest with 350 stores, 20 cinema the pace has been picking up screens, the Middle East’s largest • Lap record 1:30.252 – M steadily. France’s Auchain and indoor water park, 30 restaurants Schumacher (2004) the UAE’s EMKE Group have and a large Carrefour supermarket. • Laps 57 expressed interest in establishing The Manama Souk is next to • Circuit Length 5.412 km their presence in the country. Bab Al Bahrain (the gateway to • Race Distance 308.238 km The Bahrain City Centre Mall has Bahrain) and it is full of invigorating been successful in attracting noises and scents. Equestrian quite a number of tenants who The Kingdom of Bahrain is well- are major players in the GCC Isa Town Souk - Antiques known for its love of horse-riding region. Other malls are mostly • Souk Al Haraj – Flea market and equestrian heritage plus located in the Seef District and • Spice Souk diving and golfing activities. Riding include Al Ali Mall, Seef Mall, • Gold Souk clubs and events include: Bahrain Mall, Marina Mall and • Gold City • Amiri Stables, home to many Dana Mall. • Cloth Souk equestrian events where Best of Bahrain 27
  30. 30. visitors can view some of the Clown fish trigger fish, surgeon Championship at Riffa Views Golf world’s finest Arabian breeds fish, turtles, rays, lion fish, grouper, Club which is a PGA, 18 hole, par Awali Riding Club specialises snapper, crayfish and even whale 72 golf course featuring five lakes in Trail Riding, Show Jumping, sharks can be spot near this reef. and 72 bunkers, plus the option Polo, Dressage and Cross Caisson wreck is located 20 to play in the evening under the Country. miles off the coast of the Kingdom floodlit course. • The Dilmun club was founded of Bahrain. This concrete and steel in 1974 and has grown into the structure is home to a numerous Desert Sports premier private club in Bahrain. species of fish. There are many types of desert Located in Saar, near Budaiya, Fasht najwah is located at 50 activities in the Gulf, whether to the ‘Dilly’ is a Sports and social nautical miles north of the Kingdom watch or participate in: club Twin Palms Riding Centre of Bahrain. Najwah is an excellent • Camel riding is the largest riding and livery dive location for advanced divers • Adventure Drive Arabia – this is centre Sakhir Racecourse with and photographers. for self drives on quad bikes its unique Arabic tent design During peak season, Najwah is • Falconry International show-jumping an excellent location to spot whale Endurance races sharks. ARTS AND CULTURE Fifi wreck is located 5 miles off The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry Scuba Diving the east coast of the Kingdom of of Culture and Information is Because of its geography, diving Bahrain. This location is especially dedicated to promoting local art is popular in Bahrain: the warm, popular for night dives. and culture, as well as introducing Image by Hasan Al Khunaizi, hasan-alkhunaizi@hotmail.com shallow waters of the Bahrain the community to global forms of archipelago are teeming with Golf expression. Traditional Bahraini oyster beds. Scuba diving is Golf can be enjoyed at any level art and culture consists of generally done from boats and and on one of the oldest courses Quran readings, public poetry average underwater visibility is in the Gulf to one of the most performances, ceremonial about five metres. The Scuba innovative. Golf started in the dances, and storytelling. In Master dive centre in Manama 1930’s with the first three hole golf addition, Bahrainis are well-known teaches PADI and SDI training in course built next to Jebel Al Dukan for their work in handicrafts English and Arabic. in the oilfields. like golden jewellery and their For training, you might like to try craftsmanship as demonstrated in Popular dive sites in Bahrain Riffa Views Golf Academy. Bahrain their boatbuilding tradition. Local Bahrain pearl is the finest spot for has hosted some major golf music falls under the Khaleeji diving in the Kingdom of Bahrain. events such as the Senior Tours category, which is indigenous to 28 Best of Bahrain
  31. 31. the Persian Gulf area as a whole of fresh water, desertification, and mixes Arab, Persian and and pollution from oil production, African musical traditions. The individuals and groups hope Kingdom of Bahrain also has a to set the foundations for an folk dance tradition. The Ardha environmental movement that can is a men’s sword dance, which keep the Kingdom of Bahrain’s is accompanied by traditional natural heritage as a blessing for drummers and a poet, who sings generations to come. the lyrics. Drawing by Danny Lawless lawlessconcept@yahoo.ca International Airport Environment Bahrain International Airport, Al As a country that takes the Muharraq, with over 36 airlines environment seriously, the using the facility. Kingdom of Bahrain has been On October 8, 2009, it was working closely with the UN announced that expansion work on issues of environmental worth BHD 1.8 billion will be preservation and sustainability. started in 2010 at the airport. In The United Nations Environment connection to that, Bahrain Airport Programmes Regional Office Company has received bids from for West Asia is located in the six companies. Planned over the Kingdom of Bahrain, and from next 30 years, the expansion is there works to provide advisory expected to triple the passenger services, capacity building and capacity to 27 million a year. Two technology transfer in the priority new terminals will be opened areas of the region under a series in the next four years as part of umbrella programmes. of the expansion. The airport Bahrain Duty Free www.bdutyfree.com The government, along development plan will also involve with local and international construction of an air traffic organisations, is making efforts control tower, cargo facilities, a to address environmental threats royal flight terminal and road and in the country, as this is the rail links to the airport. first step towards long-term environmental sustainability. By Major Locations focusing on issues like scarcity Al Muharraq, Al Hadd, Manama, Al Best of Bahrain 29

×