An economic report issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Bahrain’s economy will remain the fastest growing economy among the GCC countries in 2018, after real GDP grew by 3.19 percent last year as the non-oil economy grew by 5 percent, according to the Economic Development Board (EDB) of the Kingdom Bahrain.
This comes as Bahrain’s economy is experiencing strong performance indicators thanks to the non-oil sector led by tourism, a strong pipeline for infrastructure projects and a record year for foreign direct investment.
Data from Bahrain’s EDB showed that the hotel and restaurant sector expanded by 9.5% in 2017, the total number of visitors to Bahrain increased by 9% and the average length of stay increased as well.
Number of tourists increased to 3.1 million in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 11.4%, compared to the same period of the previous year with an increase in total tourism spending by 30%.
Bahrain also aims to build 15 news hotels under construction with investments worth over $ 10 billion, as well as expansion projects at Bahrain International Airport, an increase in aircraft fleet and Gulf Air carrier flights.
Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board. (Al Arabiya)
“Today we are looking at a law that protects investors and creates the right environment for them to own investment assets and stimulate the private sector,” Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, told Al Arabiya.
Foreign direct investment grew by more than 160 percent in 2017 and hit a record $733 million, which would create 2,800 jobs in three years.
The island kingdom has also managed to diversify its sources of income away from the energy sector, with oil and gas now accounting for only 18.4% of real GDP compared to nearly 44% in 2000.