Bahrain, for a long time the financial and strategic centre of the Middle East, has been somewhat overtaken in recent years by the high levels of investment taking place in the Emirate of Dubai.
As part of Bahrain’s fight-back, its Economic Development Board is in final stage talks with a number of agencies about attracting investment and rebuilding the reputation of the smallest Arab nation.
Being the smallest of the Gulf States, Bahrain also has the fewest natural resources but has ambitions to vie with Dubai’s grandiose construction projects. When completed, the Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge will be the longest fixed bridge in the world.
The nation has already taken steps to improve its global standing, not least with the showcase Bahraini Formula One Grand Prix, which Economic Development Board chief executive Mohammed Bin Essa Al-Khalifa said was introduced to put the kingdom on the map.
The circuit and Grand Prix weekend, which took place last month, is seen as a showcase for Bahraini business opportunities.
Bahrain currently attracts just over two million tourists a year, whereas Dubai commanded 6.3 million hotel guests alone last year.