|By Mandeep Singh, Gulf Daily News,
Manama, BahrainMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 10, 2012--BAHRAIN'S four-star hotels have lost nearly BD30 million in the last year, it has emerged.
Twenty-seven hotels were significantly affected by the unrest as room bookings have plummeted by 50 per cent.
Each hotel has lost around BD1m since violence erupted on the country's roads on February 14, said Bahrain Four Star Hotel Owners Association chairman Abdulhameed Al Halwachi.
"The losses suffered by the food and beverage industry and the service apartments are in addition to this," he told the GDN.
"Hotels had been suffering in several ways even before that but in the last year things have gone from bad to worse.
"Now, with another February 14 approaching very few people, if any, are coming to Bahrain."
Mr Al Halwachi said the tourism industry's situation remains critical as occupancy rates have dropped by half.
"We have 27 registered members now and they have lost a little less than that (BD1m) or a little more," said Mr Al Halwachi, who is also managing director and board member of Al Safir Hotel, Juffair.
"The hotel occupancy level has fallen significantly with an average rate of 50pc at the moment.
"We have had bad moments and have recovered but the situation is still critical," Mr Al Halwachi said.
He urged Bahrainis to step up efforts to revive tourism, claiming the escalating violence was driving visitors away.
"We have to rebuild the trust and confidence (in Bahrain) so that more and more people, especially families from the GCC, come here."
Mr Al Halwachi revealed plans to increase tourism as the association, in co-operation with the Culture Ministry's tourism section, will hold roadshows in neighbouring countries in a bid to attract more people.
This would give hotels the push they need to get back on their feet, Mr Al Halwachi added.
"We have to repeatedly tell everyone that Bahrain is a safe place to be in and take steps to counter the negative impact of the Western media's misinformation," he said. "We have to work together to get this going because we will suffer even more if that does not happen," said Mr Al Halwachi. firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2012 the Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
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