Sports and Leisure Putting Bahrain on the Map

DUBAI - Sporting and leisure events have helped give Bahrain’s economy a big boost, officials from the country said on Wednesday.

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Fri 20 Mar 2009, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:42 PM

The Bahrain Grand Prix is the showpiece of the country’s sports industry, attracting not only a growing number of racing fans but also investors looking for a good opportunity in the Gulf region.

Bahrain and other Gulf countries whose economies have depended heavily on crude oil have been looking for other ways to generate income.

Sporting and leisure events have helped create a new profile for Bahrain and changed the way people see the island nation, said Martin Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain Grand Prix. “We want people to have a better understanding of Bahrain,” he told the CONNECT-World CEO Forum in Dubai. Whitaker added that such events are a good way to promote the country not just within the region but in the world.

Bahrain, a financial centre for the Middle East, wants to give the impression of being a business-friendly nation. Bahraini officials are optimistic that successes in the sporting industry will resonate in other sectors, particularly in tourism.

The Bahrain Grand Prix, for example, was not meant for racing alone but also as an attractive venue for business functions such as meetings, conferences and exhibitions, said Trevor Stokes, Executive Director of Business Development for the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

Stokes said the country’s sports industry is” very much economically valuable. More importantly, it is producing jobs.”

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