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Arif Rahimi Arif Rahimi

Q&A with Arif Rahimi, Chairman, Bahrain, International Circuit

LOCATED IN THE HEART OF SAKHIR DESERT, BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (BIC) IS AN ULTRAMODERN MOTORSPORT FACILITY AND A FAVOURITE VENUE FOR A RANGE OF EVENTS INCLUDING WEDDINGS, MUSIC CONCERTS AND CHARITY OCCASIONS.

ARIF RAHIMI, CHAIRMAN, BIC, EXPLAINS HOW THE VENUE CONTRIBUTES IN PROMOTING THE ISLANDS’ UNIQUE CULTURE WHILE ALSO UPGRADING BAHRAIN’S TOURIST PRODUCT.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was business this year and which are BIC’s main feeder markets?

ARIF RAHIMI: Whilst we host over 350 events every year, there is a huge concentration of visitors around the time of Formula1 in April. In 2016 we beat our race day attendance record, welcoming 33,000 spectators at the track and 93,000 over the weekend.

Those numbers have grown consistently over the last few years and we would expect this to continue in the future.

The majority of our audience comes from the GCC region however, we have an ever-growing number of fans travelling from Europe and farther afield.

This trend of more international visitors has been reflected across several of the major events we host throughout the year.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What attractions, programmes and activities would you recommend to travellers wishing to tap into Bahrain’s local life?

ARIF RAHIMI: Any trip to Bahrain would not be complete without a visit to BIC! What visitors find most attractive is the fact that we offer activities for all age groups including track experiences for experienced drivers and karting for the kids. Outside BIC, there are many historical landmarks which are unique compared to other leisure and business destinations in the region.

I would say that it is particularly easy in Bahrain to connect to local culture and people, given our open and welcoming nature. […] we always aim to ensure that the experience of our visitors is closely aligned to our culture and we are always looking to reflect Bahrain’s unique character in the events we host.

We are fortunate that, alongside the sporting bodies we work with to promote our events, authentic cultural promotion is also actively encouraged. Our culture of hospitality is exceptional and visitors to Bahrain will experience that wherever they go, which is the reason why many Formula 1 fans keep coming back.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How does BIC contribute in enhancing Bahrain's tourism profile?

ARIF RAHIMI: Most would agree that our involvement in Formula 1 puts Bahrain on the map as a tourist destination. Indeed, the growth in tourist numbers since our first race in 2004 speaks for itself. However, there is more to the BIC than just Formula 1 and we regularly attract visitors from the GCC and farther afield throughout the year.

Most importantly, however, we work closely with relevant government departments, as well as other major organisations and businesses in Bahrain to ensure we work together in presenting Bahrain in its best light.