THE Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE) 2006 will be opened today by Crown Prince and BDF Commander-in-Chief Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre (BIEC). The three-day world-class travel and tourism expo will feature 77 exhibitors from 27 countries and 60 Meetings Incentives Conference Events (MICE) operators.
The exhibition, organised by Magnum Exhibitions and Events Management (MEEM), will be open to the public from 4pm to 8.30pm today.
It will be open from 10am to 12.30pm and 4pm to 8.30pm tomorrow and Thursday.
The highlight of this year's event is the invitation of 60 key MICE buyers from Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Greece, South Africa and India. They represent organisations, which collectively have an annual spend of $3.2 billion (BD1.2bn).
One-on-one meetings are scheduled to provide buyer-seller interaction. The buyers will have an opportunity to take part in a comprehensive destination programme.
They will be introduced to the conference and hospitality facilities Bahrain has to offer, including the Bahrain Financial Harbour, Bahrain International Circuit, the Golf course and cultural and historical attractions.
Customers will also get special deals and discounts from participating exhibitors. "Many tour packages at special prices can be expected," said MEEM general manager Jacob M Kristiansen.
A big attraction will be the daily raffle draws that offer prizes in the form of air tickets, holiday packages, hotel accommodation, calling cards and other products. There will also be an opportunity to win a Mercedes SL350 2006 at the Bahrain Duty Free stand.
House of Travel, the official agents of Disneyland Resort Paris, will launch at their stand Disney Character Drawing Contest.
"Those participating can draw their favourite Disney characters and win a four-day trip for two adults and two children to Disneyland Resort Paris," said tours development manager Vinod Patric.
"The prize is inclusive of economy-class tickets, accommodation with daily breakfast and park entrance tickets for four days.
"The contest is open for children aged six to 11, from today until June 8, and the prize winner will be declared on June 15."
During BITE, three seminars have been planned. There will be two lectures at 12noon today under the patronage of Health Minister Dr Nada Haffadh.
The lectures are Metabolic Syndrome, Definition and Clinical Consequences by Professor Dr Kristian Rett, Germany, and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, by Professor Dr Gudrun Neises, Germany.
There will also be a seminar from 5.30pm to 6.30 pm today by Marriot International industry relations and association sales vice-president Richard B Green on Positioning Bahrain as a unique destination for the future.
The main sponsor of the event is the Economic Development Board. Other sponsors include Gulf Finance House, Bahrain Financial Harbour, Al Areen, MORE International Calling Cards, MTC Vodafone and Ahli United Bank.
Gulf Air, the official carrier for BITE 2006, is actively participating at the show and sponsoring the air tickets for the hosted buyers.
The event is also supported by the Information Ministry, the Industry and Commerce Ministry, and the BIEC.
Al Hilal Group and Akhbar Al Khaleej are the official media partners and Arab Tourism Channel, the official television channel. Elite Suites and Apartments are the official hotel and Bahrain Limo, the official ground transporters.
The Five Star Hotel Owners Committee will be supporting BITE 2006 by hosting the MICE buyers throughout their stay in Bahrain.