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Bahrain plans new rules for hotels.

Hoteliers were briefed on new tourism regulations that include revamped categories for three, four and five-star hotels in Bahrain.

Officials from the Culture Ministry's Tourism Affairs Directorate met representatives of four-star hotels to explain plans for the hospitality sector, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

It follows the recent shock decision to ban live music and dancers in 28 four-star hotels that allegedly broke tourism rules, while some hotel nightspots have been temporarily closed.

The GDN reported yesterday that the ban was only imposed for one month after some entertainment outlets recorded violations such as staying open after licensed hours, recruiting musicians without approval, hiring too many singers and deviating from their stated business.

Yesterday's meeting was led by Assistant Under-Secretary for Tourism Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa.

Among those present was Caravan Group of Hotels chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, who said new definitions for hotel categories were expected to be announced by the end of the month.

"We were shown a presentation by the official that listed different types of categories for restaurants that serve alcohol, coffee shops and lounges, which the different outlets should have," said Shaikh Mohammed.

"The terminology has also changed, which means words like bar, discotheque and nightclub will be replaced with lounge."

Thursday's clampdown on four-star hotels came after 154 violations were recorded this year.

Shaikh Mohammed said hotels affected by the temporary ban on live entertainment and outlet closures would now be reviewed by the Culture Ministry before being allowed to resume entertainment activities.

However, 12 four-star hotels where no violations were discovered continue to function normally.

Another meeting organised by Bahrain's Four Stars Hotels Committee also took place at Al Safir Hotel, in Juffair, yesterday to discuss the crackdown.

Around 20 representatives of hotels participated in the meeting, which was chaired by committee vice-chairman and Hotel Mercure Grand Seef chairman Yasser Baha.

He urged all hotels to adhere to the rules and close entertainment venues by 2am, not convert coffee shops into discotheques and stop the practise of allowing customers to reward dancers with flower garlands and even throw money at them.

Meanwhile, Brothers Group general manager Abdulkhair Ibrahim said the decision of tourism chiefs must be respected.

"We do not have any information in writing sent by the ministry of any rules or violations, but we have to admit it is becoming difficult to walk in Juffair and believe this is Bahrain," he said, referring to prostitution.

"This is an Arab country and we appreciate its openness to have discos and bars."

Live entertainment and alcohol were banned in all three-star hotels in July following allegations of "immoral activities" in some venues, which is thought to be a reference to prostitution, substandard facilities and hotels being operated as entertainment venues rather than places to stay. - TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Nov 17, 2014
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