7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Festival blow to economy

BAHRAIN'S economy has been dealt a major blow with the cancellation of 18 events at next month's Spring of Culture festival.

All musical programmes have been called off due to the unrest in Bahrain, including dance performances, children's plays and concerts.

It means fans will miss out on some major events such as shows by popular Lebanese singer Fayrouz and Spanish sensation Julio Iglesias.

Business leaders said it would mean a huge loss for the country's economy and in particular tourism.

"This event is looked forward to by many annually," said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) tourism committee chairman Nabeel Kanoo.

"The cancellation is a big loss to the country, which during this time attracts people from neighbouring countries to attend this family-oriented festival."

Mr Kanoo said the event, which has been running for five years, had gained popularity and attracted all nationalities, boosting the tourism sector with it.

"The knock off will hurt tourism," he said.

"Hotels, taxis, restaurants, car rentals, malls and tours will definitely be badly affected by this.

"It is quite sad and we hope next year it will be better and we can gain the losses."

Bahrain Society of Hotel and Restaurant Owners president Ahmed Sanad said the cancellations would hugely affect the sector.

"We don't have work anymore due to this," he said.

"I just hope God protects Bahrain and everything goes back to normal."

Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa confirmed that only lectures, seminars and art exhibitions will now go ahead.

"Due to the current circumstances the kingdom is going through, the events will only include lectures and seminars to fulfil the festival's purpose this year," she said.

"I thank all efforts by government and non-government organisations that worked to help continue the festival."

The month-long festival is one of Bahrain's major events that attract thousands of people from across the country and the Gulf.

It is organised by Economic Development Board in co-operation with Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, Culture Ministry, La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Arts and Al Bareh Art Gallery.

The annual event features theatre, music, dance, poetry and educational events as well as exhibitions, workshops and lectures aimed at families and the community.

Some of the events that are still going ahead include the Whirling and Swirling Art Exhibition, 200 years of French Wedding Dresses exhibition and Arabic storytelling event Train of Tales.

People are advised to visit the festival website at to check changes to the schedule.

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