Mumbai, Apr 2 (PTI) Bahrain is targeting to receive over 5,000 travellers from India this year, more than double compared with last year, mainly due to rise in demand for leisure and weddings.

“Indians mostly visit Bahrain for leisure and weddings. This year we have already done three weddings and expecting many more. Bahrain is expecting a huge growth from the frequent individual travellers (FITs) segment, a small group or a family,” Bahrain Tourism India country manager Sunil Mathapati told PTI here.

In 2017, 2,412 Indians visited Bahrain, while in 2018, over 5,000 are expected to visit, Mathapati said.

Events like, Formula 1 in the Bahrain International Circuit from April 6 to 8 is also expected to attract racing enthusiasts to the country.

“In 2017, Bahrain Grand Prix saw a record crowd of 33,000 on the race day from India and rest of the world and 93,000 over the weekend. We expect an even greater turnout in 2018,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bahrain, according to Mathapati, is mainly targeting people from the big cities who are done with the rest of the Middle East and are looking at something enriching and different.

Bahrain is also focused on the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segment, and is getting a lot of enquiries in this regard, according to him.

“We expect this segment to grow. Moreover, good connectivity gives Bahrain an edge over long haul destinations,” said Mathapati.

He highlighted that the connectivity between both the countries is good with 14 daily direct flights connecting six Indian cities with Bahrain, along with many connecting flights.

Going forward, Bahrain’s Gulf Air is planning to increase the daily frequency to 10 flights connecting eight cities of India.

This, he said, makes Bahrain an ideal short-haul destination for Indians as it takes only about 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach there.

For Bahrain, which began promoting tourism from 2017, India is the number two source market after Saudi Arabia.

Other than India and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is focusing on promoting tourism in other countries like the UK, France, Germany and Russia.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.