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Kyriakos Zarkadas Kyriakos Zarkadas

Kyriakos Zarkadas, CEO, Visit Bahrain

IN THE ERA WHEN AUTHENTIC DESTINATION EXPERIENCES TOP TRAVELLERS’ WISH LISTS, BAHRAIN APPEARS TO HAVE IDENTIFIED THE GAPS IN FULFILLING SUCH DEMAND.

KYRIAKOS ZARKADAS, CEO, VISIT BAHRAIN, REVEALS THE INSIGHTS ON THE COUNTRY’S APPROACH TO EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM MAKING THE PEARL OF ARABIA STAND OUT.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was business in the first half of this year (H1) and what trends have you observed in terms of tourist arrivals?

KYRIAKOS ZARKADAS: The H1 has been a fruitful period, full of opportunities that have led to exceptional growth across all business indicators.

Visit Bahrain has received immense support from and works in close liaison with the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA).

BTEA’s development is reflected in the opening of its representative offices in six strategic locations such as Moscow, London and Paris, to name a few.

This groundbreaking initiative has accelerated growth and proven to be beneficial for Visit Bahrain as it has allowed further access and exposure into these source markets. According to BTEA, around six million tourists visited Bahrain in the first six months, representing a 14 percent increase in comparison to the same period last year. […]

This steady growth is a result of an improved perception about Bahrain, which is now seen as a very attractive tourist destination.

Owing to this change, the Kingdom has received a huge influx of visitors as it continues to attract more travellers who now find it a stress-free destination. […]

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Modern travellers nowadays seek authentic experiences. How can visitors to Bahrain connect to local culture and people? What itineraries do you design for such visitors?

KYRIAKOS ZARKADAS: Visit Bahrain believes that in order to create a positive perception about the Kingdom and to increase desirability, it must offer a combination of stellar services and unique activities that draw on the most essential characteristics of Bahrain.

Thus, we have created a series of sightseeing tours that are designed in a way that allows travellers to get in touch with the core local culture and the genuine Bahraini people. Combining heritage with contemporary activities, the five sightseeing tours offered by Visit Bahrain are as diverse as Bahrain. […]

All the tours are built to incorporate essential Bahraini activities, heritage sites or modern venues that speak true about its unique features.

Whether we are talking about enabling tourists to glimpse at the past by visiting the Old Houses of Muharraq, discovering the modern accomplishments that allow the Bahrain World Trade Center to produce its own energy, tasting traditional goodies at the Muharaq Souq, taking a leap of faith at the world’s largest indoor Sky Diving Tunnel, relaxing on the elusive island of Jaradah, hunting for the best pearls in the world or marveling at the breathtaking sights of this Arabian Paradise at dawn, the Visit Bahrain tours take the sightseeing activity further by creating a complete experience built on a fascinating narrative.[…]

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What attractions, programmes and activities would you recommend to travellers who wish to tap into local life rather than just visit well-known tourist spots?

KYRIAKOS ZARKADAS: All the activities we propose step beyond the conventional tourist offering and aim to deliver a more genuine view over the Bahraini traditions and culture.

This is also part of our effort to transform Bahrain into a world renowned destination that can offer unique activities in breathtaking sceneries.

To achieve this, we help tourists discover traditional activities such as, learning traditional pottery techniques at the A’Ali Pottery Farm, following the famous Pearl Trail with diving into the deep blue to experience the oldest Bahraini trade of pearl diving to find and keep precious pearls, stepping back in time and learning a new skill from traditional Bahraini basket weaving masters, tasting Bahraini sweets and delicacies at the MuharraqSouq, grasping at the half-built wooden dhows in search of a distant time, sailing towards the elusive island of Jaradah and relaxing on its pristine beach while enjoying great water activities and a delicious picnic. […]

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are Bahrain’s competitive advantages among other Gulf destinations? What makes Bahrain an ideal destination for experiential travel?

KYRIAKOS ZARKADAS: Bahrain is an island paradise, surrounded by crystal clear waters.

Serene, calm and beautiful, the Kingdom fascinates through its eclectic heritage and contemporary culture, offering a mix that can satisfy any traveller’s taste. […]. […] Bahrain can be seen, heard, felt and tasted, creating a sensorial travel experience that will linger in the memories of travellers for a long, long time. In an age when everybody is searching for awakening experiences, Bahrain comes to meet the need for authentic travel by revealing its most original core.

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