Bahrain slashes visa fees in bid to attract more foreign visitors

Bahrain is to cut the fee for pre-entry visas to the kingdom by more than half from January 2020, in a bid to encourage more foreign visitors to visit the Gulf state.

According to a report by the Gulf Daily News (GDN) website, the fee will be 40 Bahraini dinars ($106.38) for a one-year visa, down from the current fee of BD85.

The fee on five-year visas have also been reduced from BD170 to BD60. The move is part of Bahrain’s push to increase the number of foreign visitors to the country.

In early December the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) held a roadshow in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, in a bid to promote Bahrain as a tourist destination to Russian travellers.

This week, BTEA also announced that it will be launching the new identity and logo. The launch coincides with the selection of Manama as the ‘Capital of Arab Tourism for 2020’ during the recent 22nd Session of the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism.

“In the first nine months of 2019, total nights spent by tourists reached 10.7 million nights, an increase of 8.8 percent compared to the same period the previous year, while the average length of stay reached 3.4 nights per tourist, an increase of 20.5 percent,” the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and chairman of BTEA, Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, was quoted as saying.

According to the recent passport Index, Bahrain allows 71 nationalities enter the kingdom visa-free, placing it 64th on the global list. By comparison, Bahrainis can enter 91 countries without a visa, placing it as the 53rd most powerful passport in the world. The UAE passport topped the list for the second year in a row with Emiratis able to enter 179 countries around the world without a visa.