The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) is creating a detailed list of archaeological, historical, and cultural sites. The plan is to use the sites as tourist attractions. This could then create significant indirect revenue for the government.
The government has considered charging entry fees for these places. Yet, this may deter schoolchildren and university students from visiting them. So it addressed this by launching projects aimed at people of all ages. These projects vary from the creation of local guides to the renovation of the Old Manama Suq.
BACA’S ROLE IN THE PROPOSED PROJECTS
Yet, there are concerns about the lack of ability to change or demolish properties. The Cabinet also revised the 1995 Artefacts Protection Law. This gives the Cabinet power to safeguard properties. But it also allows them to classify areas of future projects as "sites of cultural importance".
BACA can create the value of any property. But it can also stop activity in any area, and delegate authority to special artefacts inspectors to choose the best course of action. BACA president Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa also stated that some artefacts taken before were recovered. The creation of new categories for valuable items also occurred.
MEASURED THAT NEED ADDRESSING GOING FORWARD
But, with the increase in tourism, the actions taken on valuable deteriorating buildings must be decided. A Shura Council member voiced worry about the lack of collaboration. This already led to the destruction of a historic pearl merchant residence. So this issue needs addressing.
The need for a thorough preservation strategy is necessary for the effective preservation of these sites. As a result, the government is investigating measures to better conserve them. This ranges from thorough evaluation procedures to introducing strong restrictions and rules.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR TOURISM WITH ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
Finally, the introduction of this plan comes at a time when tourism to Bahrain is soaring in popularity. So, the government is capitalizing on this trend. It is doing so by prioritising the preservation of these cultural assets for tourism purposes in Bahrain. This can provide an economic advantage to the country. But beyond tourism, it also allows local people to preserve their cultural legacy. So, deliberate efforts should occur that guarantee the protection of these places. This way everybody can appreciate what these places offer.
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