Travel and hospitality industries set to benefit
News that Qatar and Bahrain will resume their diplomatic ties offers hope for the two nations’ tourism industries.
Bahrain was the last of the Gulf nations to resume relations after the blockade, which began against Qatar in 2017, alongside the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, due to Qatar’s alleged ties to Islamist groups.
During the World Cup, Saudi and the UAE both benefited considerably from the direct flight connections to Qatar, with Bahrain missing a key event on which to capitalise on global travel.
Both countries now boast a bevvy of big-name luxury brands. In Bahrain, hotels such as the Four Seasons in Bahrain Bay have become popular tourism hotels, while Doha now has a plethora of brands from Mandarin Oriental to Fairmont, after the World Cup led to a surge in hotel openings in the small city.
Qatar spent an estimated US$220 billion on building world-class infrastructure, including new roads, public transport, hotels and sporting facilities.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt ended their three-and-a-half year boycott of Qatar in January 2021, seeing the resumption of direct flights across several of the UAE’s national carriers and international airlines, offering a boon to the industry after the impacts of the pandemic.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement: "A fully unified Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Bahrain and Qatar are key members, is an important step towards establishing a more stable and prosperous Middle East region, including through more integrated commercial, economic, and defence arrangements.”