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Bahrain property market set to reap rewards of the Grand Prix

But it's not only skilful driving or the very latest automotive technology which is on display at each Grand Prix; the circuits themselves and their host nations enjoy their turn in the global spotlight and on the 26th April 2009 the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Bahrain will too enjoy this opportunity.

The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will be held at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir and will be the fourth race of the season. Promoted as being "Where the Heart is" organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix are striving to ensure that this year's race meets high expectations. BIC Chief Operating Officer Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, recently commented,

"Over the years fans of Formula One have come to expect so much more from Bahrain International Circuit and this year we promise to make it the most entertaining, biggest and best yet."

Over 100,000 spectators attended the 2008 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix but authorities are anticipating even higher numbers of visitors this year enjoying the action both on and off the track. In addition to the adrenaline fuelled racing a wide variety of activities and entertainment will be presented including acrobats, musicians, stilt walkers, balloonists and face painters as well as the exhibition of over twenty Grand Prix and Formula 1 cars from the F1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone which will no doubt prove popular.

And the Kingdom of Bahrain is set to reap handsome rewards in terms of tourism generated revenue from staging the event. It has been reported (by an independent study commissioned by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company) that Bahrain has benefited by nearly $2 billion from five years of Formula 1 with $600 million entering the economy during last year's event alone. With an estimated $4.6 billion generated annually for Bahrain by tourism (WTTC) it's clear that events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix are of real economic as well as cultural importance.

The expected success of the Bahrain Grand Prix will provide a further boost for the nation's economy which, whilst admitting it has been touched by the global economic crisis, has not suffered in the same way as many of its GCC neighbours. Bahrain views itself as in pole position as a regional business hub with many international companies including Microsoft, Kraft, Ernst & Young and Standard Chartered Bank already calling it home. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Kingdom's Economic Development Board (EDB), recently commented,

"Our position as the most established financial centre in the Gulf makes us better placed than many others to weather the current economic climate.  We have adopted a very sound fiscal and monetary approach which will help to maintain our platform for growth.

"The Bahrain F1 Grand Prix will once again showcase the Kingdom's attractive business environment for companies looking to access the MENA region.  Its strategic location as the gateway to the Gulf, low cost of doing business, strong and highly regarded regulation and minimal red-tape allowing 100 per cent ownership of business assets and real estate – with no corporate or personal income taxes – will continue to attract investment."

A solid economy and positive tourism indicators are key elements for a successful domestic real estate market and the Kingdom of Bahrain is bucking the global trend somewhat with a Bahrain Stock Exchange report recently revealing that local real estate trade in 2008 increased by 18% compared to 2007. Prospects for 2009 also look encouraging with government-backed projects such as the $370 million expansion of the Bahrain International Airport approved in order to further boost tourism and leisure-based developments.

One such leisure-based development available for investment is the first residential golf resort in Bahrain, Riffa Views. Set around a Colin Montgomerie designed 18-hole championship golf course Riffa Views comprises 870 two to five bedroom luxury villas with customs finishes and upgrades available. Resort facilities available include a country club, a Boris Becker tennis academy, international school, health centre, community centres, comprehensive sports and outdoor leisure activities for families and children including hiking and bike trails, water sports, as well as a shopping mall and fun land for children. 

This development is proving a popular permanent residence with expatriate workers based in Bahrain but also other GCC and Western holiday makers and those who partake in golf tourism. James Wyatt, Managing Partner of international golf property specialists, Barton Wyatt International, comments,

"I have visited Bahrain a number of times and the appeals are clear to me. A stable economy, global society, superb climate and forward thinking nation, Bahrain really is a leader within the Middle East. Resorts such as Riffa Views are setting a new standard in residential golf developments and the lifestyle on offer is second to none.

"Indicators show that expatriates in Bahrain and the UAE for that matter are still interested in purchasing property with excess income and therefore the local market is looking robust. Purchasing in Bahrain as a pure investment or indeed as a vacation or buy to let property (ideal in meeting the demand for accommodation around the Bahrain Grand Prix) still has merit and in my opinion Riffa Views is one of the best choices available."