Why Bahrain’s New Visa Policy is Good for Tourism and Foreign Investment
Bahrain’s new visa policy is expected to boost tourism and make it easier for expatriates who do business in Bahrain to travel in and out of the kingdom. As reported by the Arabian Business magazine, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) this week announced details of a new visa policy that allows nationals of nearly 100 countries to obtain a visa on arrival.
The move is part of a bid to attract higher volumes of inward investment and drive forward economic growth and job creation, in what is already the Middle East’s freest economy and home to one of the world’s famous motor races, the Bahrain Formula One.
The new visa policy will be implemented in 2015 with the potential to affect over 2.5 billion people who will be able to obtain a one month visa on arrival, with the ability to renew for another three months.
The EDB says that it made its decision to revise the visa policy in response to key trends in Bahrain’s investor base. Between 2005 and 2012 the kingdom saw a 58% increase in international investors who own businesses in Bahrain, and a 50% increase in Arab investors. According to UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment Report which was released in June, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Bahrain in 2013 totalled $989 million, an increase of 11% on 2012, outpacing global average growth of 9 percent.