Bahrain a magnet for Gulf nationals during Eid

November 15, 2010

Bahrainis and Saudis have once again started a phenomenal exchange of movement that strengthens ties and reinforces local markets ahead of Eid.

Thousands of Bahrainis travel to the eastern province of Saudi Arabia where they spend huge sums of money on Eid items, while thousands of Saudis cross the border to spend the Eid holidays in Bahrain where they have easy access to cinema theatres showing the latest films.

The 25-kilometre King Fahad Causeway linking the two kingdoms since November 1986 has facilitated travel for them and for thousands of other Gulf nationals mainly Qataris, Kuwaitis and Emiratis who congregate in Manama in a colourful display of how the people of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can co-exist and intermingle easily.

The new modern malls in the outskirts of Manama continue to top the list of places that attract most Gulf nationals, especially Saudis.

Exhibition Avenue, the vibrant area in east Manama, remains a strong magnet for Gulf nationals keen spending time in restaurants and on halwa (sweets) shopping.

“I love it when Eid is here because our business goes up so high,” said Abu Baker, a halwa shop owner in the area. “We have Kuwaitis who walk in the shop, order around 40 to 50 kilos and pay without any hassle. They say they are taking them to friends as gifts, and that is great for business. Other Gulf nationals do buy, but cannot compete with Kuwaitis,” said the Indian man, flashing a smile.

Bahrainis say they prefer to do their shopping in Saudi Arabia where they have a wider choice of Eid commodities and garments at cheaper prices.

“I always make it a point to go to Avenue 60 in Khobar and to King Abdul Aziz Avenue in Dammam where I can do my shopping easily and happily,” Baqer Al Zain, a newly married Bahraini said. “They have highly competitive prices and, very importantly, they accept the Bahraini dinar at a fair exchange rate,” he said.

Most shops impose a disadvantageous exchange rate for Bahrainis paying in dinars, making them pay an extra seven per cent.

For Saudis, the Eid days in Bahrain mean spending time in large malls where they can mix with other Gulf citizens or watch a movie.

Some shopping complexes offer up to 24 films simultaneously, giving families a wide choice of new films.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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