How are Bahrain, Egypt, Croatia and Georgia confronting tomorrow’s challenges and how are these countries’ tourism policies paving the way for the future? That was the topic Monika Jones discussed with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Tourism Minister Fatima Al Sairifa, Egyptian Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa, and Georgian Vice Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Mariam Kvrivishivli on Tuesday at the ITB Berlin Convention.
Also taking part was Croatian Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac. The representatives of the four countries presented four effectively different concepts.
Bahrain, said Fatima Al Sairifa, had successfully implemented the digital transformation and improved networking among actors and external marketing. It had become evident for example that by working with travel bloggers one could target certain visitor segments. The country’s concept for receiving 14 million visitors annually by 2026 comprised three key elements: marketing Bahrain, which consisted of more than 30 islands, as an island destination, a luxury destination and a MICE destination. Al Sairifa pointed to Exhibition World Bahrain which opened last November and where numerous events had already taken place.
According to Egyptian Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa, his country had made use of digitalisation to make regulating health and safety standards better and more efficient and to ensure all actors had fair access to the market. “We want to make it easy for the private sector to unleash its potential“, said Ahmed Issa. With Egypt expecting record tourist numbers this year and aiming to attract 30 million visitors by 2028, it was important to rapidly and unbureaucratically expand the infrastructure. Thus, steps would be taken to make it easier for private investors to increase room capacity. Tourism products for individual travellers would be expanded too.
Croatia’s new strategy in particular has sustainable tourism as its goal by 2030. Sustainability was one of the preconditions for obtaining state funding, said Nikolina Brnjac. The country was not aiming to attract mass tourism, the minister said, but instead increasingly emphasising eco, outdoor and health tourism. In tourist hotspots such as Dubrovnik and Split the focus was on better regulation of visitor flows.
Georgia’s development of the tourism market also increasingly favours eco, nature and rural tourism. In particular, Georgia wants to present itself as the land of infinite hospitality. “Sincere hospitality is part our DNA, for here in Georgia we believe that every guest is a gift of God”, Vice Minister Mariam Kvrivishivli assured the listeners. In Berlin, this year’s host country of ITB is not only showcasing its cultural past, with its unique alphabet and being the first to grow wines, but is also presenting itself as a modern country increasingly oriented towards the West – and which thanks to its hospitality has a record number of tourists who regularly return.