Bahrain’s economy will see a $2.9 billion tourist dollar boost after Saudi Arabia lifted travel restrictions, according to an expert.
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The prediction comes after Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior announced that travel restrictions would be lifted on March 31.
Saudi Arabian tourists brought $2.9 billion to Bahrain’s economy in 2019. Dr Ali Al Moulani, president of the Bahrain Economists Society, expects a similar figure to be reached in 2021 as travel restrictions ease.
King Fahd Causeway links the island with Saudi Arabia. Closed in March to restrict travel and curb the spread of COVID-19, it reopened provisionally in July, but travel restrictions hampered visitor movement.
Dr Al Moulani said: “Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have had longstanding tourism and trade ties, with trade between our two countries growing 43 percent during the third quarter of 2020.
“The recent announcement made about permanently opening the King Fahd Causeway will strengthen these ties even further.
“Prior to the pandemic, Bahrain welcomed around 11 million tourists, with over 88% coming through the Causeway.”
Opened in 1986, today King Fahd Causeway is one of the busiest land border crossings in the Middle East, with an estimated 390 million passengers having used the bridge since its opening.