TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
In a significant move to fortify the regulatory framework governing tourism, the Bahrain House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted in favor of amending Decree Law No. 15 of 1986. This law, which serves as a cornerstone for the regulation of tourism in the Kingdom, underwent pivotal changes aimed at empowering the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) to enforce administrative penalties on violators.
The amendment introduces a new dimension to the regulatory landscape by enabling the publication of statements concerning proven violations. This development emerged following meticulous deliberations by the Members of Parliament during the session, reflecting a commitment to refining Bahrain’s tourism governance.
Key among the changes is the authority granted to the Minister of Tourism to impose restrictions or conditions on licensed establishments. The minister is also empowered to safeguard the tourism sector by temporarily closing facilities under specific circumstances.
Moreover, the minister can downgrade the classification of a tourism establishment, temporarily suspend its license, or close it partially or entirely until the reasons for the violation are resolved. One of the more notable provisions is the minister’s authority to impose daily administrative fines for offenders until the violation is rectified. For a first-time offense, the fine may not exceed BD100 per day, escalating to BD200 per day for repeated violations within three years from the date of the previous decision.
The total administrative fine is capped at BD20,000, with an overall limit of BD30,000. Severity of the violation is a key consideration in imposing penalties. The Minister of Tourism, Her Excellency Fatima Al Sairafi, commended the efforts of the members of parliament and the parliamentary services committee for enabling the development of the tourism sector.
Member of Parliament Ahmed Al Saloom expressed support for the Ministry of Tourism’s endeavors, urging a focus on educational tourism and the formulation of a corresponding policy. He emphasized the nuanced approach to penalties in the amendment and called for the approval of the Services Committee’s report on Decree Law No. 16 of 2023.
First Deputy Speaker Abdulnabi Salman underscored his confidence in the Minister and her role in achieving economic development. He called for the effective implementation of tourism strategies on the ground.
MP Ahmed Qarata praised the flexibility introduced by the proposed amendment, particularly highlighting its positive implications for investors and tourism facilities. He called for the continued development of tourism facilities, especially in the post-COVID-19 era.
However, not all members were unanimous in their support. MP Muneer Suroor expressed doubts about the amendments, stating concerns about the declining state of the tourism sector in the Kingdom.
First Deputy Speaker Abdulnabi Salman
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