Facts About Bahrain – Opportunities for Thai Products in the Middle East
Bahrain, or officially the Kingdom of Bahrain has a wealthy and fast-growing economy with strengths in exports, tourism and finance. It’s also considered a very safe and foreigner friendly country. Hence, Bahrain attracts many travelers along with international business owners and investors seeking for opportunities. Here are 9 facts to know about Bahrain.
1. Bahrain has a strategic location in the Middle East.
Bahrain has a strategic location in the Middle East that is southwestern of the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf). It’s made up of more than 55 islands, both natural and artificial, such as Manama (the capital), Hawar Islands, and Jidda Islands.
Bahrain is well connected with nearby countries in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). The King Fahd Causeway, which are sets of bridge stretching 25 kilometers, connects the country with Saudi Arabia.
In the future, the Gulf railway, or also known as the GCC Railway, is a railway system planned to be built to connect all GCC countries, which includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
2. The country is only around 50 years old.
Bahrain was ruled by many foreign powers over the centuries such as the Persian empire, Portuguese, Britain, and other nations. It wasn’t until 1971 that the country finally declared independence from Britain and became its own country, making its age only around 50 years old.
Currently, Bahrain has a constitution monarchy and is ruled by the royal family, House of Khalifa. Additionally, the prime minister of Bahrain, Prince Khalifa, holds the world record for the world’s longest serving prime minister.
3. Bahrain is a tax-free country.
While Bahrain impose VAT tax on certain items, there is no personal income tax, corporate tax, and capital gains tax. Instead, the government derives revenue mainly from its exports of natural resources such as aluminum, oil, and textiles and income from tourists that visit from around the world.
Bahrain also has a liberal and free economy compared to other countries in the Middle East.
4. Foreigners can fully own businesses in several sectors.
The country allows 100% foreign ownership in businesses across most sectors. As a result, this encourages foreign investments and businesses in Bahrain. During 2021, foreign direct investment flowed into the country with a 73% year-on-year increase.
5. Bahrain has a diverse, multinational population.
Bahrain has a population of more than 1.7 million people, where more than half the population consists of foreigners and expats from around the world.
The most practiced religions are Islam followed by Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhist, and Jewish. The official language is Arabic, while English is widely used. Other languages include Persian, Urdu, Hindi, and Tagalog.
6. The first Grand Prix in the Middle East was held in Bahrain.
In 2004, Bahrain hosted the first Grand Prix car race in the middle East. Ever since then, the country hosts the Bahrain Grand Prix annually. Furthermore, there is a tradition where the top three drivers spray rose water known as Waard during the podium celebrations.
7. Bahrain has a rich economy.
The World Bank marks Bahrain as a high-income country due to its exports of vast resources, mainly oil and aluminum. In addition, the country experienced a rapid growth in the tourism, banking, and finance sector. Its official currency, Bahraini Dinars has the second highest value in the world.
8. Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East.
Bahrain has a land area of around 760 km, making it a small country, slightly larger than Singapore. It’s made up of 50 natural islands and 33 artificial, manmade islands.
9. Bahrain has the largest underwater theme park in the world.
One famous attraction is Dive Bahrain, the largest eco-friendly underwater theme park in the world. This attraction is perfect for scuba diving. The country boasts a diverse aquatic ecosystem and even a sunken 747, large Boeing aircraft to dive underwater and explore.
Besides that, Bahrain is famous for its beaches. However, only 5% of it is public and 95% is operated privately.
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